I had the chance to interview Freda Cogger, a Local 117 member at Workforce Central in Tacoma, about her experiences at our recent volunteer event on the Emergency Food Network's Mother Earth Farm. The event was organized by our Women's Caucus. 

1. How would you characterize your experience at the Women's Caucus "Mother Earth Farm - Local Food Bank Event?"

This was an experience that was really out of my element, I was not expecting to get dirty or sweaty!  I surprised myself and I really enjoyed the camaraderie between my Teamster brothers and sisters. Being with them, working the soil & laughing, watching everyone getting into their tasks while contributing their time to help the Emergency Food Network's Mother Earth Farm, made me think how I fit into the scheme of things. In my conversation with Grayson about how he decided to come work for the farm, I realized how I am a part of the bigger picture of helping those who need a little help get access to fresh vegetables and fruits.

2. Do you see yourself becoming more involved with the Teamsters Local 117 Women's Caucus? If so, why?

A majority of Teamsters Local 117 members are male and I believe it is important that the Teamster community sees that women can be united and strong...we're no "shrinking violets".

3. Why do you feel it's important for all Teamsters members to become more involved in the Union activities and events? If so, why?

Being a Teamsters should mean more than paying dues and passively expecting my business representative, my president, my secretary-treasurer to work on my behalf for my benefit. They have literally given themselves in blood, sweat, and tears to ensure my rights are not compromised. I should be able to do something to be Union strong and demonstrate solidarity....There's the stereotype that Union folks are lazy and such.  I need to be an example that's not true~in my Union and at work; what better way to do it than becoming more involved in my Union activities and events?

4. In an email you sent to me you wrote, "Thank you for making me an accountable member." What did you mean by that?

It is very helpful to know that my Teamster brothers and sisters have my back; they will give me kudos when I deserve it and kick my ass when I need it.  If I say I'm going to do something, I want to be true to my word.....but it is very easy to come up with an excuse as to why I won't be able to make it and truly justify it. If I'm going to get "shade" and called out, it may be better to just show up and give you the "I told you I would be here" look to your surprised look. Plus, your email moved me.