Local 727 Honors Longtime Brookfield Zoo Member and Former Steward Dave Thornton

| June 9, 2020

It is with a heavy heart that the Union reports the passing of Teamster Brother Dave Thornton, a long time Brookfield Zoo member and former Union Steward who passed away on May 30, 2020.  Dave was a 35-year member of Teamster Locals 726 and 727 who started working at the Chicago Zoological Society in 1988.  He began his tenure as a Senior Zoo Keeper on 31st Street as well as working in Habitat; Dave most recently worked in the Bird Department.

Many of Dave’s co-workers recall the special relationship that Dave had with Cockatoo Cookie, who is believed to have been the oldest living parrot, and oldest member of his species alive in captivity, until his death at age 82 in 2016.  Cookie was a cranky bird with everyone except Dave, whose special love of animals resonated with Cookie (pictured below).

Dave served his co-workers as a proud Union Steward from 2011 – 2015, and was also an essential member of the Union’s bargaining committee multiple times.  Dave was always willing to speak up and fight for better working conditions, fair wages, and benefits on behalf of his co-workers. Before his death, he had agreed to be on the Union’s bargaining committee for upcoming contract negotiations which will begin in the Fall.  He will be greatly missed and will continue to be in our thoughts and memories forever.

Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or grievance(s), or as a waiver of any rights, arguments, or defenses under any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or applicable law. The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.


Category: Union News, ZOO

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