Rafael Cabrera

Senior Admin Clerk, Dept. of Sanitation

As a senior administrative clerk for the Department of Sanitation, Local 3090 member Wendy Li oversees a busy call center made up of more than 30 dispatchers. After working for the City of Los Angeles for more than a decade, this is Li’s first supervisory role.

“It’s challenging to learn the new lingo and acronyms of the department and just what comes with being in a supervisory position like knowing when to delegate and when to speak your mind,” Li said. “But I do like it a lot. I like helping those that I supervise.”

Li’s call center handles between 1,000 and 1,500 calls daily from residents inquiring about collection problems or missing trash containers. Li, who lives in Kern County, marvels at the services her department offers.

“Where I live if I needed a bulky item pick up, I’d be entitled to one or two per year. As a resident of Los Angeles you can call year round and the cost is included with your trash bill and it’s a very fair price,” she said.

Li frequently preaches active union involvement to co-workers. It’s not just talk. She has been a familiar face at membership meetings for the past five years

“The union negotiates your vacation, sick time, health benefits, things that if you worked in private sector you might not get,” she said. “People take that stuff for granted. If we didn’t have the union we wouldn’t have these benefits.”

Li knows the importance of her union better than most. A few years ago, Local 3090 helped Li when a supervisor issued a three-day notice about an overhaul to her work schedule. Li, who was commuting with a vanpool from the Mojave area at the time, required more notice to arrange new transportation.

“They negotiated that from three days to three weeks,” she said.When she’s not in the office, Li enjoys riding her motorcycle, a 2009 Buell Blast. But she won’t ride it in the city.

“I wouldn’t take that chance,” she said. “I’ve seen how people drive in the city.

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"What good is having the right to sit at a lunch counter if you can't afford to buy a hamburger?"

— Martin Luther King Jr.

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