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Teamsters Local 117 Honors Willie Collins
Updated On: Apr 09, 2009
39-year Local 117 Teamster, Willie Collins

He calls himself “old school” and “union to the core.”  His name is Willie Collins and after 39 years with the same company – Graybar Electric – and 39 years with Teamsters Local 117, Willie is set to retire. 

“It will be nice not to have to worry about alarm clocks for a while,” Willie said.

Willie’s history with Local 117 goes back to 1969, when he moved out to the Puget Sound region from Baldwin, LA.  He had just finished serving four years in the U.S. Air Force, and had just come back from Vietnam.

To help put himself through college, Willie got a “good Teamster job” at Graybar Electric.  He worked during the day, and went to school at night, eventually earning a degree from Columbia College in Business Administration. 

After graduating, Willie decided to stay at Graybar, and he has been there ever since.   

“As an African American, the Union was the one place that always showed that they would protect my rights and make sure my right to work was not violated.  The Union has been good to me and good to the workers at Graybar,” he said. 

Willie will celebrate his last day of employment with the company on April 30, 2009.

Willie’s plans for retirement include travelling, fishing, and beachcombing, down on the Gulf Coast.  “I used to be a coin collector,” he said.  “I bought a metal detector and plan to hang out on a beach in Florida.  Maybe I’ll strike it rich!”  

With a daughter in Dallas and a son in Ft. Walden Beach, Florida, thirteen grandchildren and a great-grandchild on the way, Willie also intends to spend some of his well-deserved free time with family.

At 117’s spring membership meeting on March 19, 2009, Willie’s other family – Teamsters Local 117 – recognized him for his many years of dedication and service to the Teamsters.  117’s Secretary-Treasurer, Tracey A. Thompson, praised Willie on his outstanding career, and Willie’s Business Representative, Marvin Patterson, awarded Willie with his thirty-five year pin. 

Congratulations, Willie!  Thank you for 39 years of outstanding service to the Teamsters!


May 28, 2013

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