Tammy Friedewald plans to pave the way for more

  It’s been 23 years since the list of Local 916 Executive Board members included a woman’s name. Tammy Friedewald, elected as the new Recording Secretary for Local 916, said she didn’t really think about that before. Now, she thinks about it a lot, and is eager to involve more of the Local’s women members in Teamster activities. “The membership of Local 916 is very diverse but I don’t think enough people know that,” said Friedewald, a paralegal in an office of the Illinois Attorney General. “In fact, I work at a place that is majority female and I have been a Teamster since 1996. I am honored to be in a position to help change the perception.” Friedewald said support for that effort is coming from the top. It was new president J.P. Fyans who approached her last year to run with him. Since he was the last Recording Secretary, she said she knows she has a resource as she learns about being part of the E-Board. She said she is excited about his plans for making the union local even more inclusive, and points to his new committees as reasons to be optimistic for the future. “I’ve known J.P. since I started sitting in on contract negotiations as a union representative in the A.G.’s office,” said Friedewald. “I know I need to get to know more of the members who work for our diverse group of employers. One of my goals is to listen to them, and talk to them about the value of union membership.” Friedewald said she believes it’s just as important to retain members as it is to organize. She is encouraged by recent contract negotiations in the Attorney General’s office, where she said she saw more union t-shirts, signs, and solidarity than she ever has before. She hopes to encourage that kind of enthusiasm, not just among Local 916 women, but among the membership at large. “We are a diverse group but we are all working families that want the same things,” said Friedewald.