Not Slowing Down in Denver


Steward Albertine Sellers, a member of Local 17 in Denver, recently received a custom-made pin commemorating her 60 years of service as an employee.

Sellers, 82, has served through 10 different mayoral administrations during her tenure as a city employee, and she is clearly seen as one of the most valuable assets in the city of Denver’s Office of Learning and Development.

“They call Aretha Franklin the Queen of Soul, James Brown is the Godfather of Soul and Michael Jackson is the King of Pop. Ms. Albertine, we are going to call you the Queen of Denver,” Mayor Michael Hancock said at a ceremony in her honor.

Born in Jackson, Miss., Sellers got some of her first work experience cleaning chalkboards and windowsills and working in the cafeteria to pay her Catholic school tuition.

Sellers also worked summers, and eventually saved up enough money to move to Denver at the age of 19.

In 2008, Sellers’ department had layoffs, and she saw a number of her coworkers let go. She was working in the Department of Talent Acquisition at the time and began to have difficulties with her supervisor. Sellers knew that she needed to stand up and fight for a union.

In 2011, she joined the Teamsters, and Local 17 saw leadership potential in her.

“(Local 17 Vice President) Ed Bagwell made me a steward, I’m happy he did. That way I’m able to help other employees and my co-workers that are having difficulties. When they come to me with their problems, I ask if they’ve thought of joining the union,” Sellers said.

More than 60 years in, Sellers is still sticking up for her co-workers. After all this time, she shows no signs of giving up the fight.

“All of the people that I have advised to join the union, none of them have come back and told me they were sorry they joined,” Sellers said. “I think it’s a good thing to be a member of the union if you have an opportunity to do so, to receive their support. If you’re in the right, the union will always be in your corner.”