A Teamster Troublemaker for Fairness

September 6, 2013: A Local 802 Teamster celebrates her 15th year as a groundbreaking Teamster and "troublemaker" for fairness.

The first Teamster woman at her grocery warehouse, Arlena Dean filed a grievance to force her employer to create a locker room for women employees only to be told that she was forbidden to use it.

Management at her Bronx-based grocery warehouse banned Arlena, who considers herself a "proud African-American lesbian Teamster," from using the women's locker room. The bosses ordered Arlena to change in a broom closet across the hall from the men's bathroom instead.

Dean filed a discrimination grievance and launched a support petition. More than 100 co-workers signed in solidarity.

Dean's persistence and solidarity paid off. The company built a new union locker room for all Teamster women employees—gay and straight.

"I've never lived my life in the closet and I wasn't about to change in one," Dean said. "I've put up with a lot of harassment and discrimination. I wasn't going to stop until I got justice."

September marks Dean's 15th year as a proud Teamster.

"I've proven I can do my job as well as anyone else and I just want to be treated equal to everyone else too," Dean said.

Get Advice Join TDU Donate

Recent News

Airline Teamsters Don't Take No For an Answer in Denver

Local 455 Principal Officer Steve Vairma refused to hold steward elections. Member organizing flipped the script.

Members Run for Office in San Diego

Members in San Diego Local 542 are organizing to win their local union election.

View More News Posts