In May, Teamsters 856 Shop Stewards met for the second of three Steward Seminars that will be held this year. The members in attendance were Shop Stewards for Contra Costa County, Holiday Inn Civic Center, Enterprise, American Airlines, West Valley College, Alamo National, Daly City Police Department, Northwest Administrators, and the City of Milbrae.
Throughout the training, Stewards learned about threats facing working families, and the ever-increasing importance for working people to stand together. They discussed the direct correlation between the national decrease in union density – or the number of American labor union members – and the rise in popularity of anti-worker policies like “right-to-work.” Learn more about right-to-work, and how it negatively impacts workers and weakens unions here.
“Our Stewards are our leaders on the frontlines,” said Teamsters 856 Secretary-Treasurer Peter
Finn. “I was proud to be in a room with members ready to fight, and eager to strategize and develop a plan in the face of any threat we may face.”
Throughout the day that included discussions, group work, and planning, the members recalled their proudest moments as Teamsters 856 members and the reasons they became Shop Stewards.
“I’m proud because my mom was a Teamster,” said Doris Johnson. “She started out working in the agricultural industry and I saw her go on strike and work hard for a lot less wages, and the Teamsters were the ones that fought for her and basically our household.”
Doris works in customer services for American Airlines at San Jose Airport. She said she became a Steward because she had a strong understanding of their contract, and wanted her coworkers to know they could come to her for help.
“They know that I’m not afraid to fight for them and with them,” she said. “We didn’t have a voice, and now we do.”
Abnesh Kishor has been active in Local 856 since he and his Contra Costa County colleagues voted to become Teamsters a little over a year ago. “I’m not scared to step up and have a target on my back, and to speak up when we see wrong from management taking advantage of folks who don’t know their rights and benefits.”
Karen Goff is a Police Assistant for the Daly City Police Department. She says her job is a combination of a community service officer and traffic enforcement, which means in addition to bookings and fingerprinting, she gives parking tickets, tows cars, and more.
“It’s a hard job, but I’m proud of the work I do,” said Karen. “I’m also really proud of how, as a union, we stand for our members. Someone will come after our members, and when we can stand up for them and get management to back off or talk differently, that’s huge for me.”
Antonio Delgado grew up in a pro-union household. He said that once he had the opportunity to join a union, he did. “I see how the union protects the little guy,” he said. “I tell my members that their job security might not be so secure without our union.”
Doris, Abnesh, Karen, and Antonio are four of 500 examples of the strong, dedicated Teamsters 856 Shop Stewards. Great work!