Twenty-three years ago, Jeanette Sanders of Kansas City, Missouri needed a job to support her two children.
She saw an ad in the newspaper about a dockworker job at Roadway (which later became YRC), a freight company.
On February 26, Sanders is set to retire from YRC, becoming the first female dockworker for an LTL (less than truckload) freight company to retire as a member of Local 41 in Kansas City.
Over the years, a few other women in the male-dominated job became dockworkers at the Kansas City terminal, but none stayed long enough to retire.
“When I first got there, the guys didn’t like me, but that changed quickly,” said Sanders, 60, who operates a forklift.
“I became special to them because I was a woman. I always did my share of the work, but when I needed help I asked for it. I was never treated with disrespect.”
Sanders proved herself to be an excellent worker and an excellent Teamster.
“We are proud of Jeanette’s accomplishments—she was a pioneer of sorts working as a dockworker in the male-dominated freight terminal,” said Vic Terranella, President of Local 41. “She is a hardworking, dedicated worker and a dedicated Teamster.”
“I love being a Teamster, it has given me so much opportunity,” Sanders said. “The wages and benefits in my Teamster contract allowed me to provide for myself and for my children.”
Over the years, Sanders attended several Teamsters Women’s Conferences and Teamster National Black Caucus Conventions.
“I have always enjoyed talking about the benefits of being a Teamster to others,” she said.
Upon her retirement, Sanders said she will be volunteering at a home for children without families, a hospital and at the elementary school her granddaughter attends.