Hector Chaidez is a pharmacy technician with Kaiser Permanente in Montebello. Although he’s been with Kaiser for 18 years and a UFCW 770 steward for five, 2018 was the first time he’d every stepped up to take political action. His biggest reason? To see how to win a race up close in case he one day wants to throw his name in a race.
That’s exactly the change we need to see. Since 1995, workers have made up just 4% of political candidates for local and county races here in California. We need people like Hector to get the on-the-ground experience today to maybe someday run and rep working people tomorrow.
What made you want to organize this year?
I wanted to hear what it’s like to be a political candidate if I ever decide to go down that path. I wanted to hear the basics. What it’s like. How are these candidates being elected? It helped me understand the hard work that’s put into getting a candidate elected.
Would you organize again?
After this experience, yes, definitely. When I visited grocery stores [in Nevada], I heard a lot of stories about what the union has been able to accomplish for working people and I just felt so proud about the feedback. From meeting other members to meeting candidates I feel like it gave a fire in me to meet people and showed me how things work and change for the good.
What about your co-workers and other members? Would you ask them to organize, too?
I posted a lot [to social media] throughout my nine weeks in Nevada. A lot of my colleagues would see that, and I’d always get messages, like: ‘Oh, how was that? What was that like?’ I always responded with updates on what I was up to and every day, I heard back: ‘That’s so awesome.’ Even today, they ask me to let them know when there is an event coming up. Now I know a lot of people, and now I can spread the word.
What was the best part of organizing?
I never really had the opportunity to be a leader. To be able to actually lead and be successful at it, it really changed a whole point of view of how I look at myself. I want to inspire others. So, I’m definitely grateful for this experience.
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