Alina Dunbar

Informatician II, Oregon Clinical & Translational Research Institute (OCTRI) (she/her)

For a long time, I thought that being underpaid was just part of being in your twenties, part of being a Millennial, part of having a humanities degree. Over time, my perspective changed. I was resentful that I had to think carefully about whether I could afford to adopt a dog. I was angry that I couldn’t see my family during the December holidays, either because I wasn’t allowed the time off, or because paying for the flight was a serious expense. I was anxious about my health insurance status, which was full of 90-day waiting periods, unavailable if I was doing temporary or contract work, and would be cut off if I left bad work situations. Thankfully, I’m in a better situation now, but it took years and lots of support to get here. There is no reason that anyone – young research professionals or otherwise – should have to go through a similar hazing period. I’m excited about Research Workers United not only because I could have used that protection myself, but because it should prevent others from having similar experiences. The best time to form a union was 10 years ago. The second-best time is now.