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.
Most of our Local 5 organizers are rank-and-file members—people who worked in our hotels, airports, or healthcare facilities who have taken a leave of absence to work for the Union. They are Local 5 members who were also trained by organizers to be leaders. They were housekeepers, cooks, medical assistants, and more who brought their coworkers together to stand up for their rights and change their lives for the better.
Some of our Local 5 organizers are community leaders who joined our team because they believe in the power of our union and our potential to change not just our members’ lives but the future of Hawai’i.
We asked Local 5 organizer Lydia Agustin to talk story about her work as a Local 5 organizer and her life in general. Lydia Agustin worked a housekeeper at the Westin Moana Surfrider for 27 years, and then took a leave of absence to become a Local 5 organizer five years ago. She was interviewed by Local 5 organizer Brian Liston, whose own video will be posted later.
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. Full transcript is below:
LYDIA: Hi, I’m Lydia Agustin. I am a housekeeper for 27 years. Now I work in Local 5, LOA for 5 years.
BRIAN: How does it make you feel working with our Local 5 members?
LYDIA: Well, the Local 5 members, they are my sister and brother. They are my second family. I’m always thinking about them. That’s why I still continue do the job to organize them. Because I want to educate them and inspire them and motivate them.
BRIAN: What are your three favorite things about yourself?
LYDIA: About myself?
BRIAN: About yourself. Your three favorite things.
LYDIA: My favorite is to take care my plant. And what else what I do: I want to watch my teleseryes, my Korean movies. And I’m reading my English, Tagalog, Ilocano vocabulary.
BRIAN: Ok. Ok. What are your 3 favorite personality traits, like your personality qualities?
LYDIA: Well, me, my personality quality. I’m proud to be a Local 5 member. Because if I not become a leader, I cannot face a manager. I cannot face the councilor. And I cannot face other members, because I’m loner. Now I’m not a loner. I’m ready to fight. Fight. Go, fight, win!
BRIAN: So proud is one. What is another quality you like about yourself?
LYDIA: Brave. And confident.
BRIAN: So proud, brave, and confident.
LYDIA: Yeah, I’m brave. I’m not scared.
BRIAN: Name one Local 5 member who inspires you and share why.
LYDIA: The Local 5 member to inspire me died already. Evelyn Marcelino. And I always heard her name. She was shop steward. And she do the grievance by herself. And I told to myself: I want to be like her. And then when I stepping up, she is my partner. You know, my joking: we are short, both short, and she is my partner all the time. I told her, “If the wind come, even if the tornado come, the tornado cannot reach us because we are short. The wind is higher than our head. We are safe!” That’s my joke to her, because we’re both short.
BRIAN: Ok, ok. Well, that’s great. Ok ,so I think that’s all the questions. Is there anything else you want to add?
LYDIA: You know what I want to add: It should be all the members stepping up to become a leaders because if more leaders, our Union, more power and more stronger. If every single members taking their part, we are more stronger. That’s why I told to myself, 3 years more, I’m going to retire, but I volunteer myself to motivate and train workers to become strong leaders. Because if I can train, I can change one leader their life, I can sit and relax when I’m going to retire. That’s my things.