3299 Women Fight: Meet Sheila

Outside of a handful of years in Detroit as a child, Sheila Matthews is a San Diego native through and through. Coming from a working class family herself, she knows how important it is for employees to feel a sense of security in their workplace. Being the daughter of a small business owner, she also knows the standards management should be trying to meet when it comes to doing right by their employees.

Sheila working hard during our PPE action when COVID first hit.

Sheila became motivated to get more involved with our union when she saw how easy it was for UCSD management to exploit their workers and treat them unfairly. Her concern not only for herself but for her fellow coworkers led her to get involved with her union. Seventeen years later, Sheila is still as dedicated to union work as ever, participating in strikes and considered a well-respected MAT leader, being someone her colleagues can go to with their concerns and trusting that she will get their message to her organizer and make sure that their needs are met.

Sheila is always quick to remind her workers that they are all in this fight together. “I’ll hear my coworkers third party the union as if it’s something separate from themselves, and I have to educate them and say we all are the union.”

Sheila’s dedication to her community doesn’t stop at her work. Along with seeing two biological children and one grandchild to adulthood, she has fostered children, adopted three of her own, and helped her mother with her own foster children. Whether it be inside or outside of work, if she has the means, Sheila will never pass up an opportunity to help someone in need.

Sheila is one of the many strong women leading the charge in our union and getting work done for herself, her community, and her union siblings.