Spokesperson Shoutout: Always Smiling Arlene

Local 338’s Member Spokesperson Project has launched! Our terrific spokespeople have already begun to proudly represent their union in newspapers such as Joel Rodriguez (FoodTown) and Luis Linary’s (Gristedes) feature in the New York Times, and Arlene Aviles’ (Duane Reade) on-air interview with Univision during the “Hometown Heroes” Parade. Our spokespeople come from all walks of life, coming from all industries across Local 338’s colorful collection of members.

Arlene Aviles, a member since 2006, suffered a terrible tragedy amid the pandemic. Due to an electrical malfunction, her home caught fire and burned down in June 2020. Thankfully, Arlene and her two children were safe. All of Arlene’s belongings were taken in the fire and Arlene was left homeless without anywhere to go. Without anywhere to turn, Arlene reached out to her union representatives, Rosa and Kathy. She explained her situation and Local 338 was quick to act.

To make sure Arlene had the emotional support she needed, Local 338 connected her with the Member Assistance Program Director, Jenn Lipack. Additionally, Local 338 gave her the funds she needed to buy clothes for her and her children and a hotel room she could stay in while she looked for a new apartment. Local 338 was there for Arlene every step of the way: “I went through horrible storm but found a light at the end of the tunnel. I felt incredibly supported and loved by my union. I realized I am truly part of a larger family.”

Arlene is known for her happy-go-lucky attitude, compassion, and infectious smile. Even while navigating through this ordeal, she kept a positive attitude. Arlene loves to bake and sing when she’s feeling happy. She volunteers at her church whenever she can and loves to make others smile. Local 338 is made stronger through members like Arlene. If you’d like to be a member spokesperson and take a greater role in supporting your fellow members at Local 338, reach out to Andrew Koven at 516-294-1338 EXT. 1320. Your voice is valuable and necessary to building a stronger, more effective union.