When Park Central Hotel Steward Kathleen Romero took up a collection from her colleagues for the 856 Thanksgiving Meeting Solidarity Fund Raffle a few years back, she had no idea she was starting tradition and a competition. Romero’s efforts inspired other bargaining units to pool their money together as part of a friendly rivalry to see who could raise the most for the fund at the annual event.
This year, nearly all Park Central Teamsters participated in the collection, totaling a $220 donation at the November 4 meeting at the Best Western Grosvenor in South San Francisco.
Romero concedes her toughest competitors are United Airlines Teamsters: members in the Jet Shop alone raised $1,100 for the raffle. In addition, United Airlines members have collected $3,000 throughout the year for the fund.
The raffle prize, four luxury box tickets to a Golden State Warriors game, generously donated by Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle, helped entice ticket purchasers too. In all, Teamsters 856 members raised close to $3,000 for the fund at the Thanksgiving Meeting.
“Together we are strong and can help each other out,” said Romero.
The Solidarity Fund was started more than 10 years ago initially to support Local 856 hotel members who honored UNITE HERE Local 2’s picket line. Today, the fund continues to provide assistance to members who are facing dire financial hardships.
“Having each other’s back is what a union is all about and the impressive level of donations to the Solidarity Fund this year is a great example of that,” said Principal Officer Peter Finn.
At the annual Thanksgiving Meetings, held in both South San Francisco and Rancho Cordova, usual business is suspended while members get a chance to catch up, win prizes, and kick off the holiday season. Members also brought in a large array of toys and food for the Local to contribute to the San Mateo Labor Council’s holiday drive.