TEAMSTER: Tony pichardo

Worksite: Mount Diablo Unified School District

Years on the job: 9

Job title: Painter

How he got started: "I worked for the city of Concord for 17 years in all different departments and ended up in building maintenance and that's how I got into painting. I went into the painters' apprenticeship and completed that, left the city and joined up with the school district. The apprenticeship is three years, in class and out in the field. You learn about the use of different types of chemicals, how to tape off a baseboard, how to cut in around doors, how to texture -- any and all aspects of painting."

On  the importance of doing work in-house: "For safety reasons, I know I've been trained properly. Has the other guy who's doing the same job as me? One of the biggest problems is you use a contractor to come in and he hasn't coordinated with anyone in-house. Or if he's coordinated, he with somebody with the person whose going to be maintaining this job. We won't even know the color sometimes or what product they're using. And so then as soon as this project's completed, you have some kids come and they spray paint profanity over it, and now you're wasting time going 'ok, what color was used?'. I just believe it would be better to bolster your workforce inside instead of outsourcing and paying a contractor hundreds of thousands of dollars to do a job that we can probably do for a quarter of that cost.

On being a Teamster: "We were another union before, and the Teamsters kind of came in and gave us a little more hope. And just made my job – and a lot of my co-workers have agreed with me on this – but they came in and brought our spirits back up. And they did it by actually getting us raises and just a better work environment to where it seemed like we mattered a little more. I truly believe it's not where you work, it's who you work with, and the Teamsters have been a good companion at work."