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.
As I write this column, National Apprenticeship Week is wrapping. Over the course of the week, I was honored to welcome the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC) contingent to San Francisco to show off some of our biggest and best projects.
National Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), which is celebrated annually from September 15 through October 15, is wrapping up as I write this column.
We don’t have to look far to see the impacts of the housing crisis in San Francisco.
Everyone’s been talking about it lately: It’s that magical time of year when the kids head back for another year of school.
The recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization by the land’s highest court has overturned Roe v. Wade and altered nearly 50 years of legal precedent.
Now that all results from June 7’s consolidated statewide direct primary election have been officially tabulated, we can see that this council’s endorsed causes and candidates fared well overall. I am sorry to report, however, that we lost what was probably our biggest issue, and we lost it by a painfully slim margin: Prop A, the Muni Reliability and Street Safety Bond. Had it won, it would’ve allowed the SFMTA to borrow $400 million to make essential upgrades to the City’s transportation infrastructure.
Well, folks, it’s finally happened. We’ve officially nailed down a date, time and venue for the our council’s 125th anniversary celebration event: Saturday, July 16, from noon to 2:30 p.m. at Salesforce Park Amphitheater.
Congratulations to San Francisco District 6 Supervisor — now California’s 17th District Assemblymember — Matt Haney for defeating David Campos in April 19’s citywide runoff election.
With the $1 trillion Infrastructure and Jobs Act a done deal since November, billions in federal dollars are now beginning to filter down to state governments throughout the United States.
While we’re most likely to see images of celebrities and elected officials flashing on the screen as Black History Month progresses, few — if any — will honor the legacy of trailblazing Black labor leaders of America.