Ron Herrera on Leadership and the Labor Movement

Sep 10, 2021
3:19 PM

It’s difficult to write about Ron Herrera because I don’t want to describe him as a guy I’d want to have a beer with because clichés are lazy writing. I could say something original like, Ron Herrera reminds me of The Fonz if Fonzie Fonzarelli was Chicano. I bet when he hits a jukebox it plays Los Lobos, but that makes me sound like I’m trying too hard. I’ll just go with the truth. I would love to have a beer with Ron. Of course, it would have to be union-made booze.

Ron Herrera is a man of many titles. He’s been the President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and a Teamster since 1975, but when I ask him to introduce himself, he chooses to identify as “a worker… a truck driver who read a lot.”  This interview was the first time I spoke with Ron, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. A part of me was afraid he was going to stick to regurgitated talking points. Instead, Ron speaks with passion. He declares that “America may not be ready… for an outspoken Latino labor leader… but they better get used to it.” When the ballots come in on November 15, we’ll find out if the Teamsters are ready for Ron Herrera.

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Arturo “Tootie” Alvarez is based in Chicago. He trucks. He writes. Not at the same time. Twitter @TootieAlvarez.