Teamsters Local 688
"It feels good to work in a position where you can make a difference in someone's life.
Helping others provides real satisfaction."
Roland Lewis: Recording Secretary
, a 34-year Local 688 member, began his
career working in the Century Foundry (Federal Mogul) on Forest Park Avenue.
services a wide variety of industries as business representative, including plumbing supply, liquor wholesale and warehouse.
Lewis served as a shop steward for 19 years, on various negotiating committees and as a Political Education Committee member.
He spearheaded the process to form the first chapter of the Teamsters National Black Caucus in St. Louis and serve as chapter President.
The Executive Board appointed Lewis Vice President on September 1, 2008.
"As a young man, I was inspired by some of the Business Agents - the way they conducted themselves, and the way they handled themselves at the bargaining table.
I wanted to be a part of that."
Lewis has seen the union change over the years, since he began working as a stock clerk at Wagner Brake in 1975.
has seen membership decrease at Local 688, and in some ways, the degree of influence that the union once wielded decrease along with it.
believes this issue can be addressed with greater education of young workers entering the union, something that Local 688 has worked to address with its Shop Steward education program, which covers all aspects of unionism, including communication with new members.
At the same time, Lewis
has seen a positive shift in the way the Local is managed.
"We're more accessible now," he
The Executive Board's open-door policy, expanded training program and increased presence in workplaces are examples the accessibility that Lewis
believes is important for unions.
Lewis, who has served as a group leader for newer staff members, enjoys helping and educating members, stewards, and staff.