When Workers Need Help, They Call Local 911
When public sector and parking workers in the Los Angeles area have needed help, they have dialed 911—not the emergency number, but Teamsters Local 911. During the past year, more than 800 workers have joined Local 911 in Bellflower, Calif.
“The former principal officer of Local 911, Arlene Mordasini, instilled in our local officers the philosophy that in order for us to survive, we need to organize,” said Ray Whitmer, Secretary-Treasurer and principal officer of Local 911.
About 20 years ago, the local had close to 3,000 members. Today, it’s more than 9,000 members.
“We don’t have any dedicated organizers, so each and every one of the six representatives, including me, is responsible for organizing,” Whitmer said. “When we look at a campaign, we do an assessment to see what it’s going to take. If it necessitates two or three of the representatives to get it done, we team up and go after different portions of it. It’s a real team effort here.”
Members Step Up
The local also gets its member-organizers involved. For the recent parking campaign at LAX Airport, chief steward Terry Lee and steward Antonio Alfred were instrumental in the victory. For the recent campaign at the city of Santa Monica, Teamsters working in the public sector helped: chief steward Robert Rivera and steward Kenneth Kuriki (Redondo Beach) and steward Gabriel Lira (South El Monte). Jerry Galbez, a steward at Redondo Beach, helped with the campaign victory in Vernon.
“Together we have power,” said Rivera, a 20-year Teamster who has been a steward for the past 10 years. “I get involved in everything—rallies, negotiations, organizing new members. I’m proud to be a Teamster. The union helps improve lives.”
“Our entire staff, including our members and member-organizers, is helping our local grow significantly,” Whitmer said. “Teamwork is key. Together, as a team, we are getting stronger all the time. We all benefit from Teamster power!”
Here are Local 911’s recent organizing victories:
- City of Santa Monica, 370 maintenance and public transit workers;
- City of Vernon, 75 maintenance workers and administrative workers;
- 2 Rodeo Drive, 25 workers;
- LBC World Trade Center and Hilton Hotel, 15 to 20 workers;
- Inglewood Forum, (seasonal event-based), 1 to 50 workers;
- Quick Park, 40 workers;
- LA Department of Transportation (DOT), 24 parking lots, 40 workers;
- Los Angeles Convention Center, (seasonal event-based, 1 to 50 workers;
- WallyPark, WallyPark Express, Joe’s Airport Parking, 150-170 members;
- LA DOT meter collection, parking services, 40-50 members, (Pending City Council Approval of Contract Award);
- Courtyard Marriott, Downtown LA, Parking, 25 members, (pending negotiations).