Long time UMass Lowell employee (and former student) Nick Piscitello was recently elected chapter chair for the professional bargaining unit at the university. The UMass Professionals are one of the largest chapters in Local 888 with over 580 members working in a wide variety of jobs throughout the university.
[caption id="attachment_6868" align="alignright" width="300"]New UMass union leader Nick Piscitello: "The opportunities I've had at Lowell are just amazing. So many people here shaped my life and helped me to be who I am today. I wanted to give back and help others."[/caption]
Piscitello never expected to be a union leader. "I dreamed of becoming a computer scientist or engineer like my dad," he told the Spark.
But first he had to overcome serious learning disabilities that left him unable to read or write in the sixth grade. Fortunately, his parents fought for the resources that he needed and one teacher made an extraordinary effort to help him overcome his disability. By the time he got to high school he was a national honors student!
After enrolling as an undergraduate at UMass Lowell, that experience inspired him to become involved as a resident assistant in the resident life program and eventually appointed resident director at Fox Hall.
"The opportunities I've had at Lowell are just amazing," said Piscitello. "So many people here shaped my life and helped me to be who I am today. I wanted to give back and help others. That's why I loved working in the Student Affairs department."
It inspired him to get his Master's in Education at UMass Lowell.
It wasn't long before management recognized Piscitello's abilities and transferred him to Facilities. Initially wary of not being in student development, he soon found that he was working with dozens of students in an equally important role.
As his responsibilities in administration expanded, Piscitello decided to pursue a second Masters in Business. The university made him director of Administrative Services last August.
"I've realized that as you move into leadership at the university it's an opportunity to make great changes – and have fun doing it!" Piscitello emphasized.
"You can make a significant difference in people lives, especially when we find those 'win-win' opportunities for synergy and collaboration."
Piscitello wants to bring that same approach to his new role as chapter chair and to helping his coworkers in the union. "Our jobs are critical to the success of the university. By working collaboratively with management we can find many more 'win-win' opportunities that help the university while helping members to grow and succeed too."
Piscitello will be sworn in as a new Executive Board member in September.