|District Council 57|
AFSCME’s Dee Rosario Running for Park Board to Fight for Park Rangers and All East Bay Working Families
Dee Rosario is a retired park supervisor who worked for the East Bay Regional Park District for nearly four decades, and he was an active member of AFSCME Local 2428 since Day One. He is now running for the Ward 2 board seat at the Park District, and AFSCME Council 57 has endorsed him for the race.
We recently caught up with Rosario to find out why he is running for office and how his involvement with our Union inspired him to take his committment to public service to another level.
Q: How did you end up working at East Bay Regional Parks district?
So, here I was, I couldn’t work and I had to drop out of school. That summer, however, I got a job at the park district as a temporary groundskeeper. The following year, I made permanent (groundskeeper) and never looked back.
Q: Can you talk about Friends of Sausal Creek?
The main purpose of Friends of Sausal Creek is to enhance the watershed, control erosion, get rid of nonnative species and replant native species. This year, we got a grant from the National Park Service to create a walkable watershed from I-580 all the way to Fruitvale Bridge. Most of projects that we do are up above I-580, so now we’re trying to develop programs below I-580 and really involve the community. It’s an exciting time.
Q: Why is having a union important, and why were you involved?
You want to know why unions are important? Unions are probably the most vital element of this society. When we’re together, we’re the strongest voice for working families. That’s one of reasons I’m running for the Board. The people working on ground are the face of park district, and they’re not getting the respect they deserve from management and the Board of Directors.
Q: Is that what you feel like is happening now with the park district?
Q: So what happened with the 2013 contract negotiations?
We settled right before midnight on the Fourth of July, when the Board didn’t want to face a labor dispute during one of the busiest holidays for the park district.
Q: What did you have to do to prepare to run for office and what’s one thing that surprised you about this?
One of things that surprised me was how much money you needed to raise. For a down-ballot race that isn’t paid, I’ve raised thousands of dollars. But when you have to do something like put out a mailer, it still costs a lot of money. So we’re trying to get in larger circles and get friends of friends to donate small amounts of money. Of course, the Union has been great in supporting my campaign, and other unions have supported me as well.
Now we have to work to Get Out the Vote throughout the district to make sure our supporters make their voices heard.
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