Orlando Ayala has been a truck driver at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach for 10 years and is a new member of Teamsters 848. He played an active role in the successful effort to improve conditions at Toll Group, the global logistics company where he works.

How Organizing for a Union Changed My Life

Orlando Ayala

I was recently accused of thinking with my heart and not with my head, of letting my passions and outrage get the best of me and guide my actions. At the time, this wasn’t a compliment. But these traits have served me well. If not for them, I may not have crossed multiple borders seeking a better life in the U.S., or been driven to action by the outrage I felt at seeing injustices suffered by the thousands of port truck drivers at the largest port in the country.

Doing away with those injustices — starting at my company, Toll — was something that I and dozens of my co-workers embarked on two years ago. We weren’t foolish enough to think that it was going to be easy, but we decided to organize and fight for improved working conditions, better wages and union recognition anyway.