Black Steward Spotlight: Bervin Scott Lee

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“At the end of the day, we are here for our families. I believe it’s the year of the Union.”

Introducing Bervin Scott Lee, a 60-year-old warehouse associate at Linde Gas and a member of the Teamsters for 30 years. Before joining the Teamsters, Lee worked at a smaller company without insurance or benefits. Joining Teamsters Local 135 meant becoming part of a brotherhood that provided crucial benefits.

Lee has been a steward for 18 years, representing the voices of quieter and less assertive individuals in his shop of around 54 people. “I’m also a steward at my church and that experience has helped me learnt to have courageous conversations with bosses telling them when they are wrong, and standing up and saying, ‘we will fight’.” Lee’s determination and fight stem from his spiritual beliefs and his devotion to family.

Lee has stood up to racism at work throughout his career. He once educated a driver wearing a Confederate hat, taking the time to explain the historical implications. He personally experienced racism when an icon on a computer was likened to his appearance, leading him to request its removal. He points out that racism can persist and resurface intermittently. Every instance of racism needs to be confronted.

Within his diverse workplace at Linde Gas, Lee recognizes the significant contributions of people of color and emphasizes the importance of studying history. “History is to be studied and not totally lived in,” Lee articulates, “It’s important we learn from history but not continue to live IN that history.”

Lee emphasizes the impact of his background and heritage, coming from a family where his parents graduated from Crispus Attucks and faced racial discrimination. Being in an interracial marriage and witnessing the experiences of his relatives and community shaped his perspectives in the workplace. Inspirational black leaders for Lee include Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, Muhammad Ali, Harriet Tubman, and Madam CJ Walker.

Lee sees the Teamsters National Black Caucus as a crucial tool for supporting Black professionals beyond Black History Month and celebrating diversity on an everyday basis. He also admires Local 135 President Dustin Roach and his union brothers and sisters for their family-oriented perspective and dedication to their work.

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