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In 2014, NFFE Local 2035 at Fort Irwin National Training Center in Southern California was faced with stagnating new-member organizing. Local 2035 President Tony Hernandez realized the Local had a choice to make about its future – succumb to apathy towards new-member organizing, or chart a new path to success for the 700-person bargaining unit Local.
Under the guidance of President Hernandez, Local 2035 accepted the realities of weak recruitment efforts and sought to change the direction of the Local. Rather than fold in the wake of the difficulties of maintaining a Local Lodge, the executive board shouldered the challenge of taking a decidedly different path than the current trajectory. What followed was the emergence of a dedicated leader to spearhead the Local’s new-found focus on organizing.
Vice President Rosie Camacho arrived at Local 2035 after a series of toxic fights with abusive local managers. Following a string of unfair treatment, Vice President Camacho recognized that membership density (the number of dues-paying members compared to the total bargaining unit) was the key to being treated with respect by managers. So Vice President Camacho set out to change the culture of organizing at the Local.
Vice President Camacho took this challenge to heart and put in place a new recruitment system that relied on various Local members and officers that worked throughout the installation. In the weeks and months following Vice President Camacho’s new system the Local experienced tremendous growth in membership. To be exact, Local 2035 grew by 180 percent in 2015 under VP Camacho’s recruitment system and leadership.
While it did not happen overnight, what was once a Local that appeared to be heading for complete stagnation is now a shining star on NFFE’s national growth scene. Change for Local 2035 came as a result of hard work every single day by Union officers, members, and the vision of one gifted organizer. Encouraged by the tremendous success of 2015, Local 2035 has set its goals higher for 2016 and looks to continue their exponential growth in the next year.
“Local 2035 experienced tremendous growth in 2015, and our team is excited to tackle 2016 with the same vigor,” said NFFE Local 2035 President Tony Hernandez. “Our employees have been subjected to abusive management practices. But we know supervisors have taken notice of our increased presence at the National Training Center and have responded accordingly. We are translating our explosive membership growth into strength at the bargaining table. We will demand justice on the job.”
Members and Officers of NFFE Local 2035 at Fort Irwin in Southern California