By March 1, 2018Member Stories

Four years ago, in the beginning of UFCW Local 135’s relationship with Viejas workers, Martha “Betty” Daoud, was apathetic about the union. After talking with her co-workers, she saw the potential in making her workplace better, and so she got involved in the original organizing campaign. Betty collected signatures for the campaign and fought publicly against the “anti-union guys.”

Betty has worked at Viejas Casino for nearly 19 years now. She started as a prep food handler and is now a Cook 1.

Because she wants to continue to improve her workplace for herself and her coworkers, during recent negotiations, she talked with her union brothers and sisters, explained and coached them on why it’s important to have a union.

She knows how important the benefits alone are to her family. “Mucho,” she said. “I can go without eating, but not without insurance.”

“Betty has been a leader at Viejas for several years, but she took her leadership to new heights during this (most recent) contract campaign,” said UFCW Local 135 Secretary-Treasurer Richard Barrera. “She motivated her coworkers to attend meetings and to make their voices heard. Then she carried the concerns of her coworkers to the bargaining table by being a critical voice for her union brothers and sisters.”

She was chosen to attend the bargaining sessions as part of the committee because she wanted to benefit the rest of the bargaining unit. She wants good wage increases, and better benefits for all.

This time around Betty sat on the negotiating committee. She was active, asking questions and telling the negotiators what the workers wanted.

As Head Steward at Viejas Casino, Betty talks to her coworkers and coaches them. She teaches them about the contract and lets them know how important it is to have union representation. A lot of her coworkers and managers don’t know company policies or the contract either.

She is grateful to the company to have her job, but when she fights, it’s for benefits and good working conditions. As a steward, she has protections (as do all union members), but she doesn’t feel she needs them because she has good relationships with managers. She’s never been against the company. She’s a hard worker, and she’s helpful and solves issues at the department level.

“Without Betty’s leadership we could never have secured victories in our contract, like increased holidays, fewer blackout days, fair wage increases and more affordable health care,” Barrera said.

She is Viejas’s Head Steward because she earned it. She was pretty much right there whenever the union needed her as well.

Betty and her daughter Stephanie have both come out to help UFCW Local members at other workplaces. She was out on the lines at the Food 4 Less and Albertsons boycotts. She is always there to help out when needed since becoming aware of how important the union is.