New York, NY – Tanya Hatcher, Vice President, District Council 37 AFSCME Local 371, has been described as being “a voice for the voiceless.” One impetus for this laudable role grew out of her early childhood, when her mother re-married and re-located the family from Brooklyn, NY, to Canada. It must have been a serious culture shock, and Hatcher told LaborPress this was a “tough time” for her. She added, “I wanted things to be different and felt like I had no one to talk to.”
Perhaps this feeling of lacking an advocate for her own voice led to her later interest in social work as a career, in her mid-20’s. She says, “I was always helping people in various situations or circumstances. I wanted to do more than just help them with a problem.” She obtained a B.A. in Social Work from Clark Atlanta University, and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Yeshiva University. She is also a Licensed Social Worker by the State of New York.
Hatcher went on to work in foster care, where her sharp eye and empathy told her things weren’t right. “Children are separated from their parents/loved ones for days-weeks without explanation. I believed the system was seriously broken.”
In 2002, she started at the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), as a Child Evaluation Specialist. She brought strength and dedication to her role, advocating for children and families. There, she was able to meet with children and hear their concerns. “It was part of my responsibility to assist them in meeting their needs, while ensuring their safety.”
It is evident from Hatcher’s trajectory that she was able to parlay her own experiences into contributing to the greater good, especially when it came to the most vulnerable.
In 2014, Hatcher joined Social Services Employees Union Local 371 as an organizer. The union has over 100 titles, she told LaborPress, from caseworkers in shelters, the SNAP program, HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) children’s services, addiction counselors, juvenile detention, and many more. It has over 22,000 members.
Now, as Vice President for Publicity and Community Relations for Local 371, it is her job to oversee the process that ensures that information relevant to such a large membership is disseminated in an accurate and timely manner. This includes taking advantage of social media platforms, as well as through the award-winning publication The Unionist. Readership is up, to the benefit of all.
And despite her myriad responsibilities in today’s fast-moving media world, she still finds time to assist members with issues as they occur.