Who are your Local 5 organizers? Meet Gracie Esperanza

UNITE HERE Local 5 organizers are responsible for training workers to be leaders in their workplaces and out in the community. Thanks to the hard work of our organizers, Local 5 members are learning how to organize their coworkers so that together they can fight for fairness and respect at work and win amazing union contracts that give us good wages, benefits, job security, and more.

We asked Local 5 organizer Gracie Esperanza to talk story about her work as a Local 5 organizer and her life in general. Gracie Esperanza has been a ward clerk at Kaiser Permanente for 18 years. She is currently on leave of absence to organize her fellow Kaiser Permanente coworkers.

To learn more about how to get involved with Local 5, contact us and we’ll put you in touch with your organizer.

Watch the video. See the full transcript of the video below:

GRACIE ESPERANZA: I pretty much got involved with Local 5 because I was labeled as a whistleblower. And since then, I wanted to get involved because I wanted to know my rights as a union member and be able to stand up for myself if—and also for others, my coworkers, if things arise in a situation that I was in.

Pretty much just being able to defend myself with our contract and not get—be jerked around by the management.

It feels great to be serving and working with Local 5 members. It’s because a lot of times I’ve come across with members that they do not know their rights. Again, like I see myself in them. Because in the very beginning, I myself was not comfortable speaking up, not knowing what our contract and how our union can help. So to help other Local 5 members who don’t know how to exercise their rights, it feels great!

The person that inspired me the most is Manang Lydia. Knowing—she inspires me each time that I share the same room with her. Because—due to the fact that she’s older and she’s so passionate on her work, being an organizer. And even though English is her second language like myself, she speaks from the heart. But when you speak from the heart, it’s more touching. And people can relate to you even more.

Local 5 should be welcoming, very assistive and supportive. Because at times, when we do need our Union to support and show guidance, we should be welcoming, supportive, and be educated and informative to other Local 5 members.