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New SFBCTC Executive Assistant Sandra Duarte at her first march with Secretary-Treasurer Tim Paulson.

New SFBCTC Executive Assistant Discusses Her Plans for the Position, What’s Inspired Her and Being New to the Labor Movement

By Jacob Bourne, Contributing Writer

Despite longstanding necessity, the position of Executive Assistant to the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council Secretary-Treasurer had remained unfilled for years. On March 6, San Francisco native Sandra Duarte came on board to fill the role assisting Secretary-Treasurer Tim Paulson.

Organized Labor: What does an average day look like for you?
Sandra Duarte: It really varies. Sometimes it’s nonstop office work and other days I go out into the field with Tim to provide support. Things can change a lot from one day to the next. One of my main focuses for the position is to create work flows based on analysis of what will make operations run more efficiently, and Tim wants me to help increase support and communications to the business representatives and managers.

OL: Share a bit about your professional experiences.
SD: Prior to coming on board with the Building Trades, I worked as the Executive Coordinator to the COO/CNE at St. Mary’s Medical Center for six years. Before that I worked in accounting for over 15 years, 10 of which were at a local company. So, I’m new to Labor organizing but I’m excited and proud to be part of the movement.

OL: What’s your history with unions?
SD: I always felt that though my parents weren’t well off we had all that we needed. My father is a cable car grip man for Muni and my mom works at the Westin St. Francis in Union Square. Both belong to unions. The idea of working to protect the middle class is brought up often, and looking back, it was really important that my family was union because it helped make our future more secure – we didn’t have to live day-to-day.

Now as an adult I’m happy to say that I’m here and involved with Labor. When I share with my parents the work I’m doing, they too are so proud.

OL: Talk about a recent experience that has inspired you.
SD: I went to the SEIU Women’s Day rally in April with Tim. I was inspired by the unity, strength, and solidarity of those at the rally. The mutual support was very moving. Having strength in numbers is so important. Women’s Rights is a cause that I am very passionate about. As a single mom, it is very important to me that I lead by example for my daughter and the rally served as just another reminder of that.

OL: What keeps you busy when you’re not at work?
SD: I love to hike and travel. My favorite hikes are the coastal trails –Mussel Rock and Mori Point are my favorites. I recently traveled to Paris and the Greek Islands. At home I enjoy spending time with my daughter and her two bunnies.

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