Teresa Bergum was a union member before becoming a manager in Mount Diablo Unified School District’s (MDUSD) food services department. With continued confusion in the department and challenges with a new director, Teresa knew she and her co-workers would benefit from having union representation again.
As food service managers, Teresa Bergum and her co-workers worked alongside food service workers represented by Teamsters 856. Together, they all worked shoulder to shoulder making sure food was prepped and cooked and ready to serve to MDUSD students.
Over the years, when issues arose, Teresa and her co-workers would turn to Teamsters 856 representative, Juan Escobar for advice or assistance although she and her manager peers were not Local 856 members.
“When the managers first reached out to me, they felt their voice was being silenced by their immediate director,” said Juan. “Ever since then, we’ve had monthly meetings with the District’s CFO and human resources. Even though they weren’t Teamsters, we joined their fight.”
Things changed a few months ago when MDUSD transitioned the food service managers’ work and titles to food service leads thus making them eligible to become Local 856 members. Juan and fellow Teamsters 856 representative, Jeanette Bradfield hit the ground running to make sure the leads were able to reap the full benefits of a union contract.
“After Teresa received the first few membership forms from her colleagues, we scheduled a visit to meet with them at the Food and Nutrition Office,” said Jeanette. “We were able to meet with each employee one-on-one and answer their questions. Our current Teamsters 856 members who work with Teresa and her colleagues were thrilled that the leads were also going to become Teamsters.”
In just a matter of weeks, over 80% of the group were signed up to become Teamsters.
Teresa said the decision to become Teamsters 856 members was an easy one for most of her peers because they’d seen Local 856 working with them even when they weren’t yet members. “Now we really look forward to having our voices heard and hope to have input in contract negotiations,” she said.
“I think the number one thing being in a union shows is that we are a unified, cohesive group who are willing to work for the good of everybody,” Teresa continued. “I think that’s what a union is about. Not one person, but what’s good for everyone.”