Ray Jackson has always enjoyed helping people. Mike Janosko was looking for help. Enter the UAW-Chrysler Employee Assistance Program (EAP) where the two were brought together. Both are employees at the Cleveland Parts Distribution Center and crossed paths when Janosko reached out to EAP.
Jackson has been the EAP Representative at the Cleveland PDC for the last eight years. He splits his days between his job as a checker/packer at the PDC and his duties as EAP Rep.
Before coming to the Cleveland PDC, Jackson was a supervisor at another company for 21 years, developing his reputation as a “people person.” It was during that time that he learned how to really relate and communicate with fellow workers. Now, as the UAW Local 573 EAP Rep, Jackson helps employees who are going through rough patches in life.
“The employees are very receptive of the EAP program,” says Jackson, who has been a Chrysler employee for 17 years. “It’s evident by Mike (Janosko) coming to my office. He knows that I will not share his business with anyone else. Mike feels comfortable just coming and talking to me and that means a lot to me, that he and everyone else places their trust in me.”
There are a lot of ways for a UAW member to take advantage of the services offered by EAP. Workers can be referred by their supervisors or union representatives or they can come in voluntarily. A family member can even call and ask for EAP assistance for a loved one who is a Chrysler employee. Any way that someone feels comfortable reaching out for help is the method of choice.
UAW Local 573 EAP Rep Ray Jackson (left) and Cleveland PDC checker/packer Mike Janosko.
“Life experience,” says Jackson flatly when asked what draws people to his office for EAP assistance. “They can bring anything in here and we’ll help them.”
Janosko has battled and beaten four different types of cancer in the last 3½ years — most recently lung cancer. He reached out to the EAP program on May 8 to help curb an alcohol problem. While his work as a checker packer at the Cleveland PDC was never obviously affected, he knew that he needed professional assistance.
After going to his union committeeman and sharing his problem, Janosko was met within minutes by Jackson, and as the two chatted they began to map out a plan of attack. In just a few hours, Janosko was walked into a detox center in the Cleveland area with his wife and three daughters by his side. He began his journey back to the right path.
“I had heard about EAP, but didn’t really know what it was all about,” says Janosko. “I felt pretty desperate and knew I needed to do something ASAP. I’ve been married for 33 years and didn’t want to go down that wrong path and lose everything. My wife Robin was very happy when I went to EAP to seek help; my three daughters were as well.”
The 51-year-old spent five days in the detox center. Upon his release, he began an outpatient program covered by his health insurance benefit that was two days a week. The program included attending AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings, which Janosko really embraced.
“The immediate help of the EAP program is great,” he says. “I felt desperate and lost, and took the plunge to go ask for help, starting with where I worked. I am so glad I did and thankful for all that Ray and everyone has done for me.”
Whether it’s a health issue, family trouble or even financial woes, Jackson and the EAP program have resources in place to help employees begin to get their lives back on track. Janosko now wholeheartedly recommends employees take the time to learn about the program.
“I would encourage other employees to take advantage of EAP 110-percent,” he says. “It’s quick, efficient and confidential, which is great. I don’t care now if anyone knows what I was going through, but at the time I wanted to keep it private and that’s why the confidentiality of the EAP program is great.”
No matter how big or small an employee’s problem may be, EAP is there for them and will help facilitate a solution.
“EAP is a program designed to help people,” says Jackson. “In life, everybody has problems. It’s all about how someone seeks out the help to get back on the right path. This is a tremendous program and it’s definitely an honor for me to be a part of it and get to help people.”
Helping people. That’s what Ray Jackson and EAP are all about. And Mike Janosko is proof positive that the program works.