Longtime Steelworkers member Lisa Pedersen decided to refinance her house with the Union Plus Mortgage Program because she had the foresight to know she might need its payment assistance program one day. Sure enough, when Pedersen's workforce experienced a seven-month-long work stoppage in 2018, a Union Plus Mortgage Assistance strike grant covered her mortgage during three critical months when her husband wasn't working his seasonal job.
Lisa Pedersen, of Revere, Mass., is trailblazer in her field. She says she was "the first girl in [her] area" when she started as a gas leak investigator and repair person for the National Grid.
"I've been with the same company and the United Steelworkers for 33 years," Pedersen, a member of USW Local 120124 says.
When her workforce was tested by a seven-month long work stoppage recently, Pedersen counted herself lucky to have a powerful tool on her side: her Union Plus mortgage.
Pedersen and her husband refinanced their house around 2005 with the Union Plus Mortgage Program. A major draw was the payment assistance program.
"I heard about the Mortgage Assistance Program, which helps make payments when you're out of work," Pedersen recalls. "I had seen the difficulties for other people during a prior work stoppage and heard about the Union Plus strike benefits."
The Union Plus Mortgage Assistance Program provides interest-free loans and grants to help union members make mortgage payments when they're disabled, unemployed, furloughed, locked out or on strike. Eligible members must have had a Union Plus mortgage for at least a year.
A Mortgage Assistance strike grant ended up covering Pedersen's mortgage during three critical months in the winter, when her husband wasn't working his seasonal job as a lobsterman.
"I'm blown away by the Mortgage Assistance Program," Pedersen says. "I want people to understand how much you gave to us. I'm so grateful."
She considers the Union Plus Mortgage Program to be a unique asset of her union membership.
"Having this program available is invaluable. If there's something like that offered to you, you have to have it," Pedersen emphasizes.