By Kelly Hartog
Newly-elected AFSCME 3090 Vice President Adda Murillo has spent 34 years working for the Los Angeles Police Department. A single mother and a self-described wearer of all hats, she has a challenging full-time job in community relations for the 911 operators’ department, and recently received the 2022 Civilian of the Year Award for her unflagging work.
“The City is a great employer,” she said. “Obviously, you have job security and benefits. And at the time I was hired I had just had my child. I was hired, processed and did everything the same day, and I’ve been here ever since. I’m very fortunate.”
Murillo felt it was important to give back to the union that has supported her all these years, which is why she chose to run for the vice president position in October 2022.
“When I joined the union all those years ago, it was either that or pay shop steward fees,” she said. “I believe we need organized labor, so that we are strong and we count and our collective voices, ideas, missions and goals are heard and we are able to get somewhere.”
Much of Murillo’s philosophy comes from understanding that every benefit she has ever received over the years has been bargained by the union. “All of the perks; our holidays, our pay, time off, everything that we’ve been working for has been negotiated by a union.
I have my job and my salary because there was somebody in the union that fought for me.”
And while she’d never run for union office before, she did have experience as the PTA president for her children’s middle school for four years. The impetus to run for the 3090-executive board, she said, was because she felt there needed to be more transparency in the union. “I was just not comfortable at the time with what I saw was going on. I feel that everybody collectively across the board should have their voices heard and have all the benefits available to them, not just a selective group.” She noted that she discovered scholarships were being given to certain select people and weren’t open to everybody. “Nothing had been implemented to give that opportunity to everybody who has a student to receive a scholarship,” she said.
She also recalled a time when the union used to have regular activities – picnics, gatherings, get-togethers, etc. “Then I stopped seeing them,” she said. “Along with my board, we are working to start that up again. I’ve discovered when you talk to a lot of people, they’re like, ‘Oh my goodness, we didn’t even know that you guys even existed.’”
She noted how even though it’s only been four months since the board was elected, they have been holding ongoing successful worksite visits. “We get so many comments like “Thank you for coming out. When are you coming back?’ Oh, and they really like the swag – the little goodies we bring them, and we give them lunch.”
Murillo is committed to expanding the board’s reach and bringing more transparency to the union’s members, and with this month being Women’s History Month, Murillo is proud that more women are being recognized. “I don’t really pay attention to months,” she confessed, “but I’m glad they started it because they’re at least acknowledging g women and there’s so much change coming up now.” She added, “Because it’s hard being a woman and it’s hard being a working woman, having a family. I’m a single parent so having to come to the workforce and still be able to take care of your family is hard, so it’s awesome to be acknowledged.”
It’s certainly long overdue, given what Murillo has seen in over three decades in her job. “As a female in a department that’s strict and almost military-like it’s not easy,” she said, “but women have come a long way. You have men in command. They have captains, chiefs, assistant chiefs, lieutenants, sergeants. And then, being a civilian and being a female, it’s very different. They look at you in a different way, like you’re almost not on their level. But I just manage to stand my ground and I am not a pushover. I’m a fighter.”