Rudy carried his first Union card at the age of 18 as a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. After serving as a shop steward, he volunteered as a member organizer and learned to campaign in the South, where he saw firsthand the struggle that workers face when they attempt to unionize under hostile conditions.
Informed by his Catholic upbringing's social justice doctrine and motivated by a sense of stewardship instilled by his father’s lifelong career as a firefighter, he found purpose in building power for workers.
In 2008, he was hired as a full-time Business Representative and Organizer for Teamsters 856. He negotiated private and public sector contracts in Northern California, rising to the rank of Director, and was elected twice as Vice President. During his time at 856, he led organizing campaigns that nearly doubled the size and strength of the local union, which now boasts 17,000 members.
In May of 2018, Rudy was selected by his peers on the SFLC Executive Committee to assist the Council as Interim Executive Director. In August of 2018, Rudy was nominated and elected unanimously by the Council delegates to a two-year term, becoming the first person of color and youngest person elected in the 125-year history of the SFLC.
At the Labor Council, Rudy lead the staff team to assist affiliated unions with political mobilization, contract campaigns, and strategic organizing. Under his leadership, the Council shored up its finances, hired the first-ever Campaign Director, and revamped the political and affiliate support apparatus. Rudy is most proud of the recently-launched Labor in the Schools program, which will bring labor curriculum and union awareness to a new generation of San Franciscans.
He enjoys spending his off time with his family in Oakland, where he resides with his wife, Sarah, and their three children, Zoe (12), Jules (10), Isaac (3), and their English bulldog, Oliver.
My heart is heavy as I witness terrorism, war, and human suffering once again decimating Israel and Palestine.
The sense of grief and loss I feel is tremendous as I write this column. That’s because last month, we lost brother Javier Padilla Romero, a member of Laborers Local 261, while he was on the job.
With all three kids back in school and the traffic back to normal, I’m reminded that a lot of people at the schools kept working during the summer (even after SFUSD botched their paychecks and still owes them money). They tended to deferred maintenance, deep cleanings, and the like.
With SAG-AFTRA, the Writers Guild, our local painters’ union, and many of our other organized brothers, sisters, and siblings taking to the streets in recent weeks, we are presented with an opportunity to reflect on the time-tested tradition of honoring a picket line.
Infrastructure investments signal that it’s time to build out Treasure Island. This massive project is a reminder of the transformational power of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and other federal efforts that continue to boost our economy thanks to voters and the steadfast leadership of our very own Nancy Pelosi.
For years, Infrastructure Week has been regarded with skepticism and disappointment, if not outright disdain and ridicule.
By the time you read this, Workers’ Memorial Day, observed annually on April 28, will already be in the rear-view — but it shouldn’t be.
We had a strong start to March. This is Women’s History Month, and the first week is designated as Women in Construction week.
It’s an old saying that still rings true: As goes California, so goes the nation. A popular addendum to that rule — at least among those of us living in the Bay Area (and for those living in the rest of California, should they care to admit it) — is that as goes San Francisco, so goes California.