Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy (l), Organizing Co-Director Pedro Olguin (c), and Tyson Lapilio (r) at the Memphis MLK March

Tyson Lapilio, a Teamster at Republic Services, joined Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy and Organizing Co-Director Pedro Olguin in Memphis for the Teamsters Solid Waste & Recycling Division conference earlier this month. Lapilio penned this excellent piece capturing his experiences at the event:

Marching in Memphis: Lessons from the Teamsters Solid Waste Conference
By Tyson Lapilio, Local 117 members at Republic Services

During the week of January 21, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Memphis and attend the 2019 Teamsters Solid Waste & Recycling Division conference.

The date and location hold a symbolic meaning for the waste division as this was the location of the Memphis sanitation strike of 1968.  It was also the location and week of the death of Dr. King, the famed leader of the Civil Rights Movement who supported the sanitation workers in Memphis. 

While here, I got to participate in an MLK march from Memphis to the National Civil Rights Museum.  I saw the passion for justice and equality pouring out from the participants and bystanders of the parade.

This was followed by two days in attendance at the waste division conference where we discussed many things related to the waste workers of the Teamsters Union. The discussion included topics that affect the waste division such as industry fundamentals, bargaining techniques, legal challenges under the current administration, the importance of politics, and civil rights relating to the Teamsters Union to name a few.

My takeaway from all this as a rank-and-file member? I've witnessed that the Teamsters Union has an assortment of experts, lawyers, industry insiders along with thoughts and ideas on the local and national level. These people have come together to share and strategize a plan of attack to propel the Teamsters onward in these irresolute times.

It's also clear that Local 117 and our leadership are respected across the nation. John Scearcy’s leadership style and connections with labor leaders really stood out to me.

The thoughts and information shared along with the passion shown throughout the week give me confidence that our union is working hard for its members, the members that are essential to making this possible.