We are proud and excited to announce Avral Thompson as the new Secretary-Treasurer for Teamsters Local 89!
Avral has served as our Vice President since 2016 and served as Recording Secretary prior to that. He has been a Business Agent for Teamsters Local 89 since 1996 when he was hired to cover, Kroger, Furniture, and Truck Modification and other miscellaneous shops. In 1999, Avral was made the Business Agent for Carhaul which he has represented to this day.
Prior to working at Teamsters Local 89, Avral first became a member in 1984 when he started at the Bardstown plant for American Greetings where he worked as a Hot Stamp Press setup person. In 1986 he first became a shift Steward, and two years later he won election for Chief Steward. During his time as a member at American Greetings, Avral sat on all negotiating committees from 1986 to 1996 and was involved in Local 89 political operations during that time as well. In 1991 Avral served as a rank-and-file delegate, representing Local 89 at the IBT Convention.
After being hired on as a Business Agent, Avral was elected as Local 89’s Recording Secretary on the Zuckerman-Bolton slate. He served in that capacity from 2010 through 2016 at which point he moved up to Vice President, a position he has served in for the last four years until becoming Secretary-Treasurer with Johnny Bolton’s retirement.
In 2016, Avral ran for International office on the Fred Zuckerman Teamsters United slate and was successfully elected as one of four Central Region Vice Presidents. This marked the first time a member of Local 89 had sat on the IBT Executive Board. Avral used this title to champion many national issues for our members – particularly in the 2018 UPS negotiations, where he sat on the Central Region Committee. Avral proudly and publicly fought against the Article 22.4 “hybrid” package car proposal – so loudly, in fact, that he was unceremoniously kicked off of the committee by Package Division Director Denis Taylor. Despite this, Avral continued to campaign heavily against the concessionary negotiations, and helped lead the charge to reject the UPS National Master Agreement. When the International chose to impose the National Master and almost all other Local agreements in late 2018, including the Louisville Air Rider, Avral was one of the few IBT Vice Presidents to denounce this action and call for a vote to return to the table with UPS.
During his time as an Officer for Local 89 and an Officer for the International, Avral has consistently fought for the rights and betterment of the rank-and-file members he serves. Of particular note, Avral was a central figure in a major victory at the Ford Louisville Assembly Plant where 160 Teamster carhaul jobs were saved.Those members were awarded a $21.6 million-dollar back pay and benefits settlement – one of the largest payments in the history of the American Labor Movement.
“I’ve worked with Avral since we were both Business Agents in the late 90s. There’s no one out there I would trust more to take over as our new Secretary-Treasurer,” said President Fred Zuckerman. “He’s got years of experience, is one of the sharpest negotiators I’ve ever met, and always has his heart set on doing the right thing for our members.”
Despite his great successes and storied career in the Teamsters, Avral has always remained a humble man. From the small Kentucky town of Loretto, where he still lives today, Avral is well known by members he has represented for his easy smile, country charm and his natural ability to share a quick joke and a laugh with anyone he meets.
“Everyone deserves a fair shake at their workplace,” said Avral. “If something there is going wrong, or companies are unsafe, a person should be able to bring these issues to light. That’s what a union does for people while supplying a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.”
From President Zuckerman, the Officers, Agents and Staff at Teamsters Local 89 – Congratulations, Avral! We are excited to step forward into this new chapter of our Local Union’s history!