856 at pier 39

TEAMSTERs: Michael Kyelberg and Melissa Wagner

Worksite: Pier 39, San Francisco (The City's biggest tourist attraction, which sees 10 million visitors annually)

On the job: 6 years (collectively)

Job titles: Landscapers

What that means: "I go on the pier and I check all of our container plantings first thing in the morning, and then as soon as it starts to get a little too busy for me to be on the pier, I move out into the parks and take care of the actual garden space along the Embarcadero. We are dead heading (removing the old flowers) to allow new growth to come up. We are weeding constantly and there's fertilizing that needs to be done throughout the seasons, and pest control—checking for bugs, slugs, snails, and replanting if something has died."—Melissa Wagner

Childhood goals realized: "In kindergarten they had these milk cartons that we put a pumpkin seed in and they put it outside and it grew. And then they said, 'well take it home and plant it'. I took it home and planted it in our garden and I went out there one day and it was dead. I remember I was like in tears and I guess maybe that was it. It was my lifelong quest. When you do gardening, you actually cause the demise of a lot of plants, as well as make a lot of other ones thrive. So it's interesting, you kind of do both. It's kind of part of the routine. " —Michael Kyelberg

"My mom had houseplants. So having all those plants in the house, I just learned to take care of them. I'm also a vegetarian, so plants are a part of my life in that way. It's always been a part of me. I have always wanted to be around plants and nature." —Melissa Wagner

On making Pier 39 beautiful: "I think of everything like a tree, and even if it's a little bush, I kind of make look essentially like a tree. So I go to the bottom of the plant and then I kind of work up and I try to make it have a natural shape. I'm always looking for air and light moving inside of the plant. Even with hedges, opening them up so light's coming in and birds can move in there and bring more wildlife into this garden." —Michael Kyelberg

Helping more than plants: "There are people who get lost and there are people who need help, so I am giving directions a lot of the time. I do have a map on my garden cart, because people are visiting. This is a tourist area, so not only am I a gardener, but it's also visitor services. There was someone who came off of a cruise ship and she left her phone and didn't know how to contact somebody who was supposed to pick her up. So I used my own phone to call her family so they could make contact with her." —Melissa Wagner

On being Teamsters: "With a union, there’s a community and respect. There’s someone to go to when you have a problem. I wanted to participate so that I could speak up for my co-workers, many of whom have a language barrier, making it difficult for them to advocate for themselves.”  —Melissa Wagner