Member Voices

Why is your union important to you?

Wilson Po

Sysco Foods
33-year Teamster

The union protects our jobs and provides good benefits and stable working conditions. I appreciate the Brotherhood—especially!”

Lloyd Embry

Costco – Almaden
19-year Teamster

Our rights, standards, quality of work, pay raises, health benefits. And strong leadership.”

Efren Zamorra

Del Mar Foods
9-year Teamster

“It’s about knowing that somebody has our back. The only way things can get done is if members get together to push for equality, opportunities, and wages.”


Alex Robertson

4-month Teamster

“For protection. They look out for you and have our best interests at heart. Nice to be in a community of like-minded folks.”

Emily Ramirez

MV Transportation
15-year Teamster

“We have a voice at work. We just got a new contract and got big wage and pension increases.”

Jose Blakey

Marzetti West
16-year Teamster

“Protection against the company trying to do things their own way. Being a Teamster is a blessing.”

Jeremy Bennett

UPS Santa Cruz
18-year Teamster

“Benefits for our families. Protection and all the security that comes with it.”

Veronica Alvarrez

First Student
3-year Teamster

“They fight for our benefits.”


Elizabeth Watson

Costco – Hayward
23-year Teamster

“It stops favoritism. It helps protect my rights in the building.”

Dante Funtila

Premier Recycling
5-month Teamster

“For the Brotherhood. The Teamsters provide support and make sure you get treated right. You know you’re not alone.”

Rafael Lopez, Jr.

Central Concrete
9-year Teamster

“Protection. Benefits. Representation.”

Alex Obeso

Premier Recycling
5-month Teamster

“Solidarity. Unity. We take care of our members.”

Rudy Lopez

34-year Teamster

“They fight for our rights, benefits, and wages. We have a big contract coming up. I hope the Teamsters have a plan that will benefit all of us and our families.”


Jorge Santos (& family)

6-year Teamster

“The benefits. The partnership is strong to fight management. They support us if anything happens at work. I feel more protection.”

William Ortiz, Jr.

2-year Teamster

“Unions create opportunities and help us stay in a nice tight environment so we don’t bounce from job to job. I feel like I’m part of something.”

What's bad about Amazon & why do you care?

JT Hayden

2-year Teamster

“They pay Amazon workers less; they don’t have a lot of benefits; they work many more hours than we do. It’s hard for UPS to compete.”

Moses Ceballos (& Eric)

5-year Teamster

I’m trying to get more involved so that I can move up and make a difference. Amazon is hiring a bunch of young people and they give a $3,000 bonus, but 24 people have quit in the last three months—that’s insane.”

Lucas Bernal

10-year Teamster

“33% of our volume is Amazon. If they take that away, drivers will lose their jobs. I knew that Amazon was big, but I didn’t realize they were this big!”

Bianca Garza

7-year Teamster

“My fiancé works for Amazon. They pressure the workers way too much to meet their crazy numbers. They don’t treat people like they should be treated.”

Juan Montes

9-year Teamster

“Amazon workers are pushed to a point where they’re dangerous to public safety. It’s not the workers’ fault—they’re just trying to keep their jobs.”

Louie Vidal

1-year Teamster

“I’m here to be part of the union. I want to take part to fight any threats to my job.”

Dustin Tilbury

18-year Teamster

“I’m here to learn about the spread of Amazon and how it will affect UPS—and how fast.”

What do you appreciate about Local 853?

Edith Johnson

Durham Trans.
10-year Teamster

“I appreciate how the union helps us. Some of the things that we needed to get done have gotten done—including getting us a big raise. The union is just there when we need it.”

Joe Simao

Cargill Salt
40-year Teamster

“I appreciate that the union keeps law and order on the job and fights for my rights. I also appreciate the health benefits.”

Duane Thompson

Southern Wine & Spirits
8-year Teamster

“The union has done a lot for me over the years. As workers, we have the ability to act on our own behalf as a group and the employer doesn’t dictate the terms.”

Harry Arroyo

21-year Teamster

“I appreciate the pension and some of the benefits.”

Javier Maciel

Bimbo Bakery
31-year Teamster

“I appreciate the steady medical benefits for me and my family. And I feel more secure in my job.”

Tom Gent (& Sonny)

Westside Building Materials
30-year Teamster

“With the union, I have a voice. It provides me a way to get paid a legitimate wage and I have representation. The union continues to negotiate good contracts for us.”

Antonio Caquimbal

20-year Teamster

“Being in a union, I have a lot of advantages over when I worked non-union. It’s great to have a good job with good benefits. If I got in a dispute, I have someone to talk to.

Daljeet Nijjar

MV Transportation
16-year Teamster

“Whenever we get in trouble, the union helps us. It’s extra protection.”

John Jaurique

Young’s Market
27-year Teamster

“Brotherhood. Togetherness. Unity. Strength. Focus. As one.”

Jarret Grushkowitz

22-year Teamster

“Solidarity. And I appreciate the benefits.”

Pablo Martinez

Central Concrete
19-year Teamster

“The union makes my workplace better in every way. It makes me secure. If I have a problem, I can call the union and they’ll take care of it.”

Ivan Mendoza

8-year Teamster

“I appreciate the brotherhood, the family, the unity, and the hard work that everyone puts in for us. The union is there to defend us. It feels good to be part of the community.”

Marcella Flores

9-year Teamster

“I appreciate that the union acknowledges the employees and workers because the employer certainly doesn’t.”

Brenda Mora

MV Transportation
12-year Teamster


Wayne Julian

Costco Business Center
30-year Teamster

“I appreciate everything about the union, especially Rome for all his hard work. I appreciate my pension and that I have a lot of job protections.”

What was good about attending the 2021 women's conference?

Emily Ramirez

MV Transportation
15-year Teamster

“I love the workshops. I’ve been a steward for 14 years and have been to three women’s conferences before. Each year the class has different teachers so we get all kinds of new tips. And we’re going into negotiations, so this couldn’t have come at a better time.”


Gloria Segura

UPS – Santa Cruz
33-year Teamster

“I’ve been a shop steward for 22 years and have only been to one previous Women’s conference. You get to meet other Teamsters; that’s important because we’re one big family. We’re for one thing – our rights. Teamsters always have our back.”                                                                                    

Sharon Velez

Costco – Fairfield
18-year Teamster

“I like the sisterhood of the conference. I don’t feel like an outsider. It’s huge to be brought in. Before coming, I was intimidated and afraid to do the wrong thing, but I was really welcomed in. I’ve been a shop steward for seven years and have a lot to learn. I want to be more involved.”


Katrena Ledbetter

18-year Teamster

“This was my first conference; I hope to get to go to more. Local 853 is tight, loyal, strong. I’ve been a shop steward so I’m going to the shop steward classes. You can never take enough of them. I’ve seen women from different states—we’re really strong.”

Stephanie Wheeler

City/County of San Francisco
16-year Teamster

“I’ve gotten a lot of good info here and truly felt the ‘Team’ in Teamsters! I never realized there were so many women Teamsters because wherever I’ve worked, I was the only woman.”


What are your hopes and dreams for 2021?

Karla Aguirre

Karla Aguirre

5-year Teamster

“To go on vacation, get a new car, and get my daughter set up for college.”

Photo of Art Budd

Art Budd

City/County of SF
10-year Teamster

“For Local 853 to keep rolling smoothly; for everybody to stay healthy, and for an end to coronavirus.”

Photo of Sean Ross

Sean Ross

15-year Teamster

“I hope there’s a vaccine, that we have a new President, and that we get more members in the Teamsters to build a stronger union.”

Photo of Derrick Hill

Derrick Hill

2-year Teamster

“To get back to some normalcy. If business isn’t strong, the unions won’t be strong.”

Photo of Mike Buriana

Mike Buriana

Young’s Market
10-year Teamster

“Happier people at work. It’s the little improvements that make people smile at work.”

Photo of Ed Miller

Ed Miller

Bimbo’s Bakery
17-year Teamster

“Definitely to get past COVID to see beautiful faces again. I want to get out, travel and see things. And, I hope the election goes really well.”

Photo of Tom Souza

Tom Souza

SF Chronicle (ret)
20-year Teamster

“I want everybody to get healthy so we can party again. It’s hard to enjoy retirement when you can’t get out and kick up your heels.”

Photo of Derrick Cordero

Derrick Cordero

20-year Teamster

“I hope for a better life, to get rid of corona, for my kids to go to college, and for me to get a raise.”

Photo of Hernan Langarica

Hernan Langarica

25-year Teamster

“To get better. We need more jobs for the people.”

Photo of Andrew Alexandre

Andrew Alexandre

Kiewit Const.
19-year Teamster

To become a homeowner; to get more young people involved in the union; and, for health and safety for all of us.

How did you get to be a steward, and why is it important?

Photo of Glenda Houston

Glenda Huston

First Student – Oakland
2-year steward

“They voted me in and I couldn’t say no! It’s important so the drivers can be heard. When there’s a “he-said, she-said” issue, a steward can come in and have your back. Having a union and a rep means there are steps the company has to go through. That benefits our employees.”

Photo of Daniel Gee

Daniel Gee

39 years union
10-year steward

“Our supervisor was a steward, which was a conflict of interest. So I stood up. You want the workplace to be safe without harassment and get paid a fair wage for what you do. And make sure your rights are not violated or abused and that the employer follows procedure according to the contract.”

Photo of Gil Palomino

Gil Palomino

So. Glazer Wine & Spirits
13 years union
8-year steward

“I was elected unanimously. We were having some problems with management that gave me a sense of responsibility. I have to hold myself to a higher standard. My job is to build a strong relationship with management. If everyone gets along, it‘s more efficient. I love representing the guys.”

Photo of Augusto Vidona

Augusto Vidona

Right Away Ready-Mix 
11 years union
7-year steward

“I wanted to learn more about the union. It’s supposed to protect our rights and benefits. The industry is changing and we, as members, need to be more involved in what’s happening. That starts with education. The steward is the first line of defense.”

Photo of Jim Estelita

Jim Estelita

Matagrano, Inc.
33 years union
7-year steward

“The other steward left and I was asked. My job is to make sure all my members are treated fairly. A lot of people think we get perks, but no, we’re doing it for the next generation. My main goal is to recruit members to serve.”

Photo of Omar Beas

Omar Beas

Costco Sunnyvale
18 years union
8-month steward

“The position was there and I’ve always like helping people. A steward asked me if I’d do it and I said yes! What I like about being a steward is being able to listen to the members’ concerns. Patience. Communication. I have to be all grown up!”

Photo of Katrena Ledbetter

Katrena Ledbetter

Compass Transport
12 years union
12-year steward

“I like the mediation. If the company is wrong, I like going after them. I like for everybody to get along and
I don’t like to see discord. My job is being able to recognize when the company breaks the rules of the contract and bringing it to the union’s attention.”

Photo of Joe Simao

Joe Simao

Cargill Salt
37 years union
8-year steward

“The members encouraged me. It’s important to follow the contract, which I call the bible! Members have a voice; I need to back them up on whatever the situation may be. Most of the time, I enjoy it.”

Stay Connected