Hours before the sun comes up, Teamsters Local 727 steward Corey Wright is already on the road. The First Transit Chicago Pace paratransit driver’s route begins at 4:40 a.m. each day.
“Well, I used to start at 2:50, so 4:40 is sleeping in for me,” Wright said with a laugh. “It’s about sheer motivation and knowing someone out there needs my help.”
And Wright clearly has that motivation. He said he began working for First Transit when the facility opened two years ago “because I like to help people and I wanted to offer my hand to the community.”
“It’s not just about getting a paycheck, it’s more about doing right for your community,” Wright said.
Wright, a 39-year-old Chicago native, was elected as union steward in November. He and his co-workers ratified their first Teamster contract in May 2015 following their strong, united effort to join Local 727.
“With the union, the employees are happier and we have rights,” Wright said. “It’s been an outstanding improvement since the union came on board.”
In addition to serving as union steward and working as a paratransit driver, Wright also trains new employees and was recently promoted to scheduler. But the father of three said he enjoys the challenge of juggling all of his different roles.
“It’s been nothing but growth since I’ve been here, and I’m handling it all and doing the best I can,” Wright said.
Teamsters Local 727 represents more than 1,100 paratransit industry workers, including about 100 drivers, schedulers and dispatchers at First Transit Chicago Pace in the Canaryville neighborhood.