Member Spotlight: Shunda Whitfield

Shunda Whitfield_CNA_Estates of Spanish Lake

Shunda Whitfield has provided nursing care to people in need since 1988. For her, this work is personal because she has a passion for serving seniors.  

“I love people and I especially like being around our elders. They have so many stories and experiences to share and you can learn a lot from them. I enjoy their company so much.”

Shunda Whitfield

Many people in Whitfield’s family passed away suddenly and she never got to care for them the way she wanted to at the end of their lives. “Working in nursing homes allows me to give back and to provide that care for someone else’s family member that I wish I could’ve provided for my own family.”

Whitfield has been a CNA at Estates of Spanish Lake for nearly 8 years. She helped to organize her workplace and has been active in our union ever since.

“I first helped get our union in at St. Louis Place where I worked for 11 years, and then when I started at Estates of Spanish Lake I did again. I got there and realized there was no advocate for workers, and I knew we could change that. It started with one-on-one conversations and took off from there.”

When COVID struck, it only strengthened Whitfield’s beliefs about the importance of unions.

“It’s been a very scary and sad time in our nursing homes throughout this pandemic. So many people got sick. Coworkers and residents died. I personally got the virus early on and due to my pre-existing condition, it took me months to recover. I was grateful for our union so we all had a way to unite, speak out and demand what we needed on the frontlines.”

shunda whitfield

Whitfield’s leadership in our union has continued to grow, supporting campaigns at Luxor-owned nursing homes, speaking out in the media by sharing her personal story, learning more about how we build political power through COPE, and working on critical pieces of legislation to provide infection control training for healthcare workers and to establish local Safety Officers as another layer of protection for workers in healthcare settings. She continues to serve as Chief Steward at her nursing home as well.

When Shunda Whitfield isn’t working at her nursing home or helping to build a stronger union, she’s very involved in her church. She helps with the women’s ministry, music production, coordinating ushers and more. She is also a proud mother of four children of her own, and at one point was the matriarch for 11 children at one time when her older family members passed away unexpectedly.

“I was a mother and a sibling to eleven kids at once and ever since, I’ve been the glue that holds our family together.”

Whitfield has a lot of extended family these days too. For many of her residents, she is the only family that they have. Plus, she considers her fellow union brothers and sisters part of her family now as well.

We’re proud to highlight leaders like Shunda Whitfield because she, along with so many others, are the backbone of our union and the power that we’ve built!