After a long and diversified career working as a Teamster up and down the West Coast, Local 399 Vice President Randy Peterson has decided to retire.

Peterson joined the Teamsters at 19 years of age in 1975 when he became a member of Local 186. He hauled lemons from the orchards in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties to the packinghouses for Carpinteria Motor Transport, a company based in his hometown of the same name. Three years later he became an owner-operator and spent another year as a Local 186 member before moving his family to Oregon.

He and his family settled in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, a small town in the north-eastern corner of the state, where they were able to enjoy their mutual love of riding horses. Peterson changed professions but stayed a Teamster, transferring to Local 556 in nearby Walla Walla, Washington.

As a member of Local 556 he began working at Iowa Beef Processors while going to night school, eventually earning his Journeyman Electrician’s License. One day after work, however, his career path took a turn that would put him on the path to representing members.

“As I was walking out of the plant, my business agent approached me and asked if I had ever thought of working for the union,” recalled Peterson. “I decided that I wanted to give it a try.”

He was hired as Chief Shop Steward, a position with similar duties as a business agent. “I was responsible for 1,300 members, dealing with their insurance needs, grievances, signing people up for the union and giving them their withdrawal cards,” he explained. “I helped start a campaign to get the workers registered to vote and signed up for the Teamster’s DRIVE program.”

In 1986 Peterson joined Local 399 as a Business and in 1989 the Executive Board elected him as President of the Local. Between 1991 and 2000 he worked as a Group 2 driver, captain and coordinator, before moving back to the local as a Business Agent.

“Leo and I started working as a team from the moment I hit the ground at Local 399 and I think we have made it a better place over the last ten years,” Peterson said about their partnership at the local. “It has been a real honor to work side by side with Leo, and everyone else at the local, to help our members get the pay and benefits they deserve.”

“I’ve had so many rewarding moments over the years, and I loved helping the members,” explained Peterson, who helped win over $3 million in grievance money for members and damages to the local since 2001. “I’m going to miss all of the friends I’ve made over the years. Rebate programs across the country are hurting our members, but I see more work coming back to Hollywood in the near future. Local 399 will continue to succeed as it has done over the last two decades.”