About Us

We are HOPE AFSCME Local 123


Individually these words mean very little but together they hold a powerful possibility, a vision. A vision that spread like wildfire through the City of Houston. Conversations in break rooms, in parking lots, at lunch and after work, between co-workers, spouses and friends. In 2005, for the first time city workers were talking about change; real change.

Ignited by a promise and a challenge, thousands of city workers seized the opportunity to be heard. We were overdue for change. Municipal workers had gone almost a decade without an across-the-board wage increase. Several classifications earned no more than the federal minimum wage, qualifying workers for food assistance. Inconsistent disciplinary action was common practice, and the ever changing maze of policies became increasingly difficult to keep up with for far too many of us.

Before 2005, city workers could do precious little to influence how the city was run. Despite our numbers, our impact was nonexistent.  For 169 years, we didn’t have a voice. We didn’t have a unifying mission. We couldn’t harness our collective strength. But one by one, city workers decided it was time for this to change. We stepped forward. We chose HOPE. We chose to believe in more than ourselves, we chose to believe in one another. 


It’s the belief in one another–in each and every single worker at the city of Houston–that turned our vision into a reality.  It provided the strength to push through the three petition drives needed to form HOPE Local 123. It guided the efforts of our Committee for the Future as they drafted the constitution and bylaws that govern HOPE Local 123 to this day. It emboldened HOPE members to seek to raise the minimum base wage for city of Houston employees to $10 per hour as part of the first labor agreement.

Our willingness to believe in one another has changed the culture of the city of Houston. City workers are getting respect that is overdue and much deserved. No doubt there have been setbacks.  Yet even in the midst of that challenge, HOPE members succeeded in changing the public’s perception of city workers. We became partners, working with taxpayers to make Houston a better place to live, work, invest, learn and play. We proved that city workers have the know-how and commitment to make city government efficient, effective, and fair. The future holds countless challenges. At HOPE, we have learned that together we can achieve what none of us can accomplish alone. We will continue to stand firm on the American promise that all workers can thrive. 

Your Elected Leadership Team

President: Sonia Rico (ARA, McKinney)

Vice President: Jason Evans (HAS, IAH Lee Road)

Treasurer: Charles Morris (HHD, 8000 N Stadium)

Secretary: Sandra Otoya (Fire, 500 N. Jefferson)

Downtown District: Amethyst James (ARA, Mckinney)

Public Safety/Criminal Justice Position #1: Diana Shepherd (HPD, 1400 Travis)

Public Safety/Criminal Justice Position #2: Kara Parker (HEC, 5320 N Shepherd)

Public Works Position #1: Gwen Alexander (PWE, West Houston Circle)

Public Works Position #2: Yulanda Veltz (PWE, Teague)

Public Works Position #3: Roy Sanchez (HPW, 1002 Washington)

Public Works Position #4: Willie Moore (HPW, 611 Walker)

Health District: Ihsan Baha (HHD, Kirby)

Parks and Recreation District: Olaf Krause (P&R, 2999 S Wayside)

Aviation District: LeToya Duplessis (IAH, 16930 JFK Blvd)

Solid Waste: Russell Harrison (SWM, Judiway)

Fleet Maintenance: John Scott (FMD, Burress)

Executive Director: Joseph C. Windham