In honor of Black History Month, Teamsters Local 135 is recognizing and honoring our Black Stewards.
We had the opportunity to speak with David Hayden, a long-time Teamster, steward, and truck driver working for Transervice Logistics. Hayden shared his insights on the significance of Black History Month and the importance of solidarity within the workplace.
Hayden shared how influenced he was by his father’s work ethic, and by the history of Black Americans’ struggle for equal rights, to stand up for what he believes in. His guiding principles at work are to uphold fairness, support his coworkers’ fights for equal treatment, and uphold the union contract.
“When I first started, there was a fellow Teamster truck driver, Mel, who served as a role model for me. Mel was someone I and others looked up to,” Hayden said when asked to reflect on Black individuals who made significant contributions in his industry. Emile “Mel” Thomas, an unsung fellow Teamster, is one of many who have advanced their respective fields and paved the way for others. They deserve more recognition and awareness for their achievements.
For Hayden, Black History Month is a key time to celebrate the contributions of Black leaders who fought for racial justice, like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. We honor their sacrifices while pledging to continue the fight for a more inclusive society.
Hayden hopes that Local 135 can continue to empower Black members and grow their participation in the union. Ongoing support and solidarity, beyond Black History Month, is crucial.
“It’s important that we come together, voice our opinions during monthly meetings, and create an open channel of communication within the Union.” By actively listening, understanding concerns, and advocating for equal treatment, we can foster an inclusive and supportive work environment for all.
Black History Month provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the struggles, achievements, and contributions of the African American community. Through conversations with fellow Teamsters like David Hayden, we gain valuable insights into the importance of celebrating and recognizing Black history, empathy towards the challenges faced, and the significance of ongoing support beyond this dedicated month. By valuing diversity, embracing inclusivity, and amplifying the voices and contributions of black professionals, we can continue to build a more equitable and unified workplace.