Public Service Proud: Torrington DPW Members on Raising Union Families and Serving The Community

Department of Public Works (DPW) workers are often in the background of our bustling communities, but society would not function without these essential workers maintaining our roads and infrastructure. Theodore "Teddy" Grecki, Steve Redman, and Jeff Woodward, are three unsung heroes from Torrington DPW, AFSCME Local 2212. As #PublicServiceProud union members, these workers not only exemplify steadfast commitment to their jobs, but also highlight the importance of public sector unions in delivering quality public service.

Teddy Grecki: A New Father Wanting to Inspire Future Union Members

Teddy Grecki, Torrington DPW Local 2212 member

Teddy Grecki's journey to the Torrington DPW is a story of resilience and adaptation. After running a family-owned business that had existed for 56 years, the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic led to its closure. Grecki found a new home in Torrington DPW, and he has been thriving in his role as a trailer driver for over a year and three months.

Grecki described working for Torrington DPW as the first time he’s been in a union. “I really like it, I’ve never had the benefits, especially being a new father, and being able to be home at reasonable hours is something I’m really glad for,” he said. With a background rooted in construction work, including military service, Teddy is passionate about passing down the torch of public service to future generations, expressing his desire for his own child to follow in his footsteps.

Jeff Woodward: Foreman and Local Vice President

Torrington DPW Jeff Woodward

Jeff Woodward, a foreman and vice president of Local 2212, also transitioned from self-employment. Woodward joined in 2015, seeking job security and benefits, especially with impending fatherhood. As a foreman, he orchestrates and manages a variety of jobs, ensuring the department runs a smooth operation.

Reflecting on the positive changes within the department – such as new positions, as well as programs that allow workers to increase their pay grades with extra training – Woodward states, "We are all cogs and gears that keep the city going. Whether it’s a truck driver or [school] superintendent, we all have our purpose and duty to attend to."

As a firm believer in trade schools, Woodward also underscored the importance of these institutions in preparing the next generation for essential trades. In 2021, Council 4 members turned out to support a landmark Planned Labor Agreement (PLA) signed by the City of Torrington and Connecticut State Building Trades to build a new school building, as well as creating job fairs and annual apprenticeship programs for students.

This legislative session, Council 4 is supporting SB 332 - a bill that would extend portal-to-portal workers' compensation coverage to public works employees when they are commuting to and from work during hazardous conditions. DPW workers are called in to assist during weather-related emergencies, so Woodward believes this protection could make their commute safer, since they are usually ordered to work before roads have been cleared and treated. 

Woodward submitted testimony in support, acknowledging that before coming to Torrington DPW he worked with several public works employees who got into accidents and "didn't have that exta protection." "Hopefully, this bill would also have the added benefit of incentivizing management to call in public works employees earlier before the roads have a chance to become a hazard," he added. 

Steve Redman: A Proud New Union Member

Steve Redman, Torrington DPW Local 2212 member

Steve Redman, a truck driver, only started at Torrington DPW just 7-8 months ago. Formerly working in the tree industry, Redman wanted to be closer to home, especially after becoming a new father. Redman’s day-to-day duties involve truck driving and contributing wherever needed. As a new union member, Steve appreciates the support and camaraderie offered by AFSCME Council 4.

"It’s nice to serve the town I was born and raised in, to help clean up the environment I live in. Keeping the streets safe is a big priority," says Steve, underscoring the sense of pride and responsibility that comes with serving his community. Having worked in landscaping and contracted by Eversource, Steve's hands-on experiences will be invaluable in public service.

AFSCME Council 4: Empowering Public Servants

The transformative impact of being AFSCME Council 4 members has been the common thread of Teddy, Steve, and Jeff's experiences as public service workers. However, unions are only as strong and transformative as the members who get involved in them. In that vein, Jeff encourages fellow workers to be involved in their union local: “It gives you a voice on the job, job security, and more.”

Teddy, Steve, and Jeff exemplify the commitment and pride that characterize the workforce at Torrington DPW. Being #PublicServiceProud and a part of AFSCME highlights the essential role that unions play in ensuring a thriving and motivated public sector workforce and supporting families. As we celebrate them, let us also acknowledge the importance of supporting and empowering those who work tirelessly to enhance the quality of life in our communities.

Torrington DPW, Local 2212 Members
Be a #PublicServiceProud member! Do you know a member doing extraordinary things on the job or in their community? Get in touch with us at [email protected]