The Union Is a Home For Everyone

A Black History Month Interview with Michelle Espinoza, TDU Black Caucus

Michelle Espinoza is a UPS Teamster and member of the TDU Black Caucus. 
Learn more about the TDU Black Caucus here

When did you become a Teamster, and why did you become more involved in the union?

I started at UPS in 2014 when they hired me after peak season. My husband was already a 24-year UPS Teamster, so I had no hesitation about joining the union. I got more active when I moved into the air driver and eventually package driver jobs. Management was trying to deny my right to advance, so I really had to know my rights and enforce the contract. I had to fight in the same way to go into feeders.

How can Black Teamsters use the union as a way to fight racial discrimination on the job?

Our union provides a space for members of all races to come together and win improvements in our lives. With a contract you can hold management accountable against discrimination of any kind.

How did you become more involved in TDU?

A TDU organizer had called me about the TDU Convention. I couldn’t attend that year, but two years later I became really active with helping a slate in my local run for leadership. That’s when I got more involved with TDU because of the great education and resources that are provided.

What does Black History Month mean to you as a Black Teamster?

It’s important to know the history and what Black Teamsters have contributed to this union. But we should also use this month to remind ourselves that we need to make the union a home for everyone regardless of their background.

Why do you think it’s important for Black Teamsters to become more involved in the union?

Whatever problem you’re facing, you need to be involved in order to fix it. Unions can be a great vehicle for addressing the issue Black members face in our lives and learning how to fight for our rights.

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