August 31, 2017
August 18 was a proud day for DHL driver and Teamsters Local 174 shop steward Jana Heideman, as she was announced the winner of DHL’s second annual “Courier Rodeo Safe Driving Competition.” After placing fifth in last year’s event, she was thrilled to emerge victorious in this year’s rodeo.
Jana’s victory was months in the making. It began with a five-month period where her driving was monitored by GPS and rated against other DHL drivers across the country: the GPS tracked her speed, harsh cornering, harsh braking, and harsh acceleration. At the end of the five months, Jana found out she was the top winner for Area 2, a region encompassing Washington, Oregon and parts of California.
This qualified her for the finals, which involved 15 drivers from across the country. They all traveled to Arlington, Texas to compete in a 3-day event that included a written test, a city drive, a freeway drive and a DOT inspection test. Once all this was completed, Jana was announced as the winner over all other DHL drivers in the country.
“Local 174 is extremely proud that this year’s winner is not just a member of our Local, but a Shop Steward who fights for her coworkers’ rights every day on the job,” said Local 174 Secretary-Treasurer Rick Hicks. “Congratulations Jana, and thank you for bringing this prestigious honor home to our Local Union!”
Jana’s victory was all the more poignant for Teamsters Local 174 because it came in the middle of the Local’s strike at concrete company CalPortland – a strike that Jana’s husband honored as a CalPortland employee and member of the Operating Engineers Local 302. “We’re a good Union family,” Jana said about her husband’s refusal to cross the Teamster picket line.
When asked about her victory, she said she was pleased to have topped her performance in last year’s rodeo. “I am really competitive! Last year getting fifth was not good enough,” she said. “I went back to compete against myself and do better, and I got lucky and took the whole thing.”
“It doesn’t sound like luck to me – it sounds like pure skill,” said Rick Hicks. “It comes as no surprise that the national champion of this rodeo would be a Teamster, since we know Teamsters are the best, safest, and most professional drivers. Local 174 is filled with pride that the champion is a member of our great Local. Thank you, Jana!”
As a reward for her victory, DHL will be sending Jana on a national tour of different DHL stations to talk to her coworkers about safe driving. “With this victory under her belt, she is certainly the best person for the job,” Hicks concluded.