Friday, December 4, 2015

After 50 years, Lone Star Teamster reflects on career

A.D. Dawson
A.D. Dawson looks back on his 50 years as a Teamster, most of them at the Lone Star Army Ammunition plant, with great fondness – especially for his fellow union members. As he prepares to retire in the spring, the 35-year shop steward often reflects on the work heyday of the Cold War, privatization and decades of contract negotiations.

Dawson, who started his career at East Texas Motor Freight, has had a remarkable career at Lone Star. He has reliably transported countless rounds of ammunition and explosives for our armed services, and his legacy of service for our nation is a point of pride and passion, he said:
The military to me is the number one priority. I respect our troops so I do the best job possible for them. The people who worked with me, if they came to me with a problem, I would always tell them, that our main priority is to do a good job and do it correctly for our service members. My grandson is in the Marine Corps and to this day, the military still is priority number one.
Dawson has also provided more than 35 years to his fellow Teamsters as a shop steward. Starting as an auditor, the East Texas native learned inside and out the business practices of his employer, along with the rules governing wages, benefits and the workplace in the Teamster contract. After three years as an auditor, he was voted chief steward for the Teamsters at Lone Star. Since his first election victory in 1980, his colleagues haven’t elected anyone else to that role.

Tim Nichols, President of Local 878 in Little Rock, Ark., said:
Mr. Dawson and all of our amazing stewards deserve our utmost respect and gratitude. They are on the front line of union service, helping resolve the issues that our members face on a daily basis. We’ve worked with A.D. for a long time and I want to congratulate him on a remarkable and successful career and wish him all the best in retirement. He is the epitome of what a Teamster steward and leader should embody.
Outside of his union job, Dawson has been noted as one of the most popular bartenders in East Texas. Operating his own bartending business after his cousin helped him learn the ropes at Texarkana Country Club, he has poured drinks for over 35 years. He has served a collection of well-known individuals including President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

A proud husband, father and grandfather, Dawson looks back with pride on his time with the Teamsters:
If you are a Teamster, you stand tall. Your shoulders go back. When I’m introduced, I say I’m a Teamster. And people, you can see it in their eyes, they understand the prestige and honor that comes with that title. I am so proud to say I am a part of this union.