Kenny Warmack, Garage Attendant, 3150 Lake Shore Dr.
50 Years and Counting
Chicago Garage Attendant Not Yet Considering Retirement

While working as a condo parking garage attendant at 3150 N. Lakeshore Dr., Teamsters Local 727 member Kenny Warmack has seen hundreds of tenants, dozens of co-workers and about 30 building managers come and go.

“I’ve been here longer than the building,” said Warmack, who began working at the condo when it opened in 1963 after spending two years at a neighboring condo garage.

Warmack, now 77, celebrated 50 years as a Local 727 member in July 2011.

You’ve been a Teamster since 1961. Are you close to retiring?
“I’m not even thinking about retirement. I want to try to keep going as long as I can. I’m an active person. The worst thing in the world is to sit around and do nothing. I hurt my leg a couple years ago and couldn’t work for a few months. I saw how it felt to be a retiree, and I said, ‘No, this isn’t for me.’”

“And if I quit working, I’ll lose my supply of used furniture and clothes.”

Oh yeah? What do you do with those things?
“When people in the building move or buy new things, they throw out so much – clothes, furniture, you name it. I take those things and give them to people in need – friends, relatives, shelters, churches, whoever. My mom used to do the same thing when we were growing up, collect old clothes to give to others in need. If I can’t find a home for the stuff right away, I’ll take it to my house until I can find someone who needs it.”

“Sometimes we don’t realize how blessed we are. There are still so many needy people.”

Where are you from?
“I grew up on the South Side, but I’ve lived on the West Side for about 40 years now.”

Why do you like your job so much?
“The tenants, the people. I’ve known some of them for so long, and we’ve become friends. It’s fun to come to work every day.”

How has the union impacted your life?
“When I started working in my first garage, we didn’t have the union. I made $280 a month and I was working nine-hour days, six days a week. The income wasn’t great, but it’s gotten so much better thanks to the union and our contract.”

You’re a fixture at Local 727 membership meetings.
“They’re important to me. The union used to just be a name, now there’s substance – especially our union. I wouldn’t have spent 50 years in this job if it wasn’t for the Teamsters.”

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