By Kelly Hartog
Derek Bryson has been working as an administrative clerk for the security credentials section for the City of Los Angeles for the past five years. He’s been with 3090 for the same period of time.
Now 62, Bryson made his career shift after time spent working on political campaigns and prior to that, in the entertainment business for 30 years working in TV and film post-production.
Bryson came to the city via a program called Targeted Local Hire, created by Los Angeles City Council District 8 Representative Marqeece Harris-Dawson. The program is designed for people from vulnerable and underserved populations and offers full-time, paid, on-the-job training for entry level city positions.
While having no prior experience with unions, Bryson said his mother was actively involved in unions. In deciding to take on the position as the West area organizer for 3090, Bryson said, “I just got more involved because I felt it was important to look out for my coworkers and stand up for their rights. I tend to notice that management sometimes is heavy-handed.”
Bryson believes organized labor is important not only because of the benefits unions offer but “also to make sure that workers have certain rights and to ensure everybody gets a better wage.” He added, “If union wages are high in the public sector, then the private sector has to compete with that. It helps the economy as a whole.”
In addition to currently being involved in contract negotiations with the city for the betterment of 3090 union members, Bryson is also the chair of the Political Legislative Action Committee for the union. “I’ve been more involved in politics in the union because that was one of the things, before I entered the union, I was involved with, too.”
When it comes to implementing changes for union members, Bryson said, “I would really like to see the city implement some kind of policy for affordable housing and nearby housing. A lot of city workers can’t afford to live in the city. We have lots of workers who literally drive 70 miles to work and that doesn’t make any sense.” Creating affordable places so that city workers can live close to their jobs is a win-win, he said. “It’s good for the city because the closer people are to their jobs, the more they’re invested in their jobs and the city they live in.”
When it comes to reaching out to 3090 members Bryson said “I would like every member to get more involved and speak up. It’s important to stay involved because the more active members we have, the stronger it makes us as a union and helps us to negotiate a better contract [with the City].”