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Thank You to Our Members and Our Union!

As the newest member of the International leadership team, I think it’s important to introduce myself and talk about the values which will guide me, as together with International President John Costa and International Secretary-Treasurer Ken Kirk, we continue to strengthen the ATU by advancing and fighting for interests and rights of you, our members.

First, thanks to the delegates at our ATU 60th Convention, I am humbled and honored to serve as this great organization’s first female and first Latina International Executive Vice President.

I need to thank my friend, my brother, and our International President John Costa, for being the first International President to support a woman for one of the International Executive positions.

Besides being the first woman and first Latina Executive Officer, I am also proud to be a 3rd generation ATU member, and I can assure you that I will not take for granted the trust that has been placed upon me in representing you, the members we serve.

I began my transit career back in 1993, starting as a bus operator in Colorado. I understand the difficulty of working split shifts, weekends, and late nights, on runs that almost nobody looks forward to.

I was appointed to the position of Shop Steward in 1997, elected to the Executive Board of Local 1001-Denver, CO, in 1998, elected to the position of full-time Recording Secretary in 2001, and then ran and was unopposed as President/Business Agent in 2004.

I prided myself in providing fierce representation for our Local’s 2,000 fixed-route and light-rail transit workers. In 2006, the membership at Local 1001 made the decision to go out on strike. I’m very proud to say that with the assistance of community allies and the backing of a strong membership, we achieved the largest pay increase in the history of Local 1001.

After our strike, I was deeply involved with the organizing campaigns that brought all the private contracted fixed route operators in the Denver metro area into Local 1001, increasing our membership by nearly 1,000 members.

I was appointed as an International Representative in 2007 by then International President. Warren George and then appointed as an International Vice President by the General Executive Board. I was elected as an IVP by the Delegates to our 2010 Convention. In that time, I’ve had the honor of assisting ATU Locals in North Carolina, Illinois, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Oklahoma, Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, and Colorado, and I can’t wait to help so many more.

Fighting for the rights of ATU members and their families is my life’s work. I was successful at leading ATU Local 19-Colorado Springs, CO, in a fight against a multi-national corporation, First Transit. We prevailed in this hard-fought fight and ultimately were awarded $1,000,000 for approximately 64 members.

I also assisted Local 1091-Austin, TX, in an Unfair Labor Practice charge where we were able to win almost $1,000,000 from RATPDEV for our members at that Local. I’ll be honest, giving those employers million-dollar black eyes gave me tremendous satisfaction and allowed our members and their families to receive what was due to them!

I am so excited about what the future holds for the ATU. Thank you for the privilege of being able to serve in this capacity. I can assure you I have the fire in my heart and the will in my soul required to meet the moment! I also know that none of us do this alone. We all need each other, and it’s my honor to fight alongside you.