Shop Steward Sarah Tercero knows her Teamster contract inside and out, and she stands by her co-workers to enforce it.
For blackjack dealer Sarah Tercero, family takes priority. Whether it's her loved ones at home or her Teamster family at work, the Maverick shop steward is always looking after someone. In her free time, Sarah likes to barbecue in the backyard with her three young kids and husband. At work, she's a quick study of the rules and policies. Her Crazy Moose Casino co-workers call her their "work mom" and look for her when they have a question. In 2020, her group - a bargaining unit of 1700 dealers, wait staff, cooks, and security officers at over a dozen card rooms across WA State - ratified their first Teamsters contract with a 98% YES vote. We caught up with Sarah recently to talk about her new union and how she manages her busy work and family life.
How did you get into dealing cards?
My mom worked in the cage at a casino in Moses Lake, where we’re from. She’d been in the gaming business for 10 years. Then a dealing class popped up and she encouraged me to attend. I’ve been at it ever since.
What’s it like working in a card room?
I deal Blackjack along with other games – I Love Suits, Texas Hold Em, Deuces Wild. My favorite is Spanish 21. It’s exciting for the players and there’s a bunch of math that goes into it. Bets fluctuate, people are rooting, everything has a payout. It keeps my brain active.
Anything at work that’s surprised you?
Nothing too crazy, gaming is so regulated. One of our regulars hit a huge jackpot recently. It was super exciting - $228,000. We’d been waiting for it for two years.
You’re a working mom. How do you balance work and home life?
The biggest key is my husband, Hernan. We have three young kids, one with special needs. Hernan knows my schedule, how busy I am. He takes care of everything. That gives us the flexibility. I don’t know how it would work any other way.
Sarah's kids - Charlie, Carsen, and Chloe - love to spend time in the backyard tearing it up on the trampoline.
Word is you’re a super active Teamster. How did you become a shop steward?
The other steward encouraged me, and my schedule changed a little to make me less busy. People were already coming to me to ask what the rules are.
The joke is my co-workers call me their work mom. Plus, I saw people getting taken advantage of. I decided I could step up and educate our employees so they understand the union.
It sounds like you're the kind of person who likes to help people.
I always say I'm nosy - I want to know what's going on. I don't get into people's business, but when something's not right, I'm there to try to fix it. I'm like that with my kids, too. If my intuition tells me something's not right, I make sure I talk to them to see how I can help.
You organized with Teamsters just a couple of years ago. What was the biggest benefit?
Having protection against unjust terminations. Before, if you made one monetary mistake, you were wondering if you were going to get fired. That made every day scary. Now, the company can't fire us without going through a process. They have to follow just cause.
What do you like to do in your free time?
My husband and I love sports. My three-year-old wants to play soccer, so we bought her a goal recently. I’m a huge basketball fan. I used to play street ball when I was younger. Our other favorite thing is to barbecue. Our kids have a trampoline, and we use the pool in summer. We have a quad, our baby rides her scooter. We like to gather, hang out in the backyard, everybody likes that we’re all together. We always grill carne asada. Hernan is great on the barbecue.
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