For over 28 years, Debra Simmons-Peterson worked for the Rush University Medical Center in Patient Transport. She served as a union steward for over 20 years, giving her the opportunity to communicate daily with members and work closely to resolve their issues. Debra became a Local 743 Business Representative in 2008 — a position that afforded her essential and invaluable knowledge of the day-to-day operations of the local and its membership resources. In 2010, Debra was appointed Vice President of Local 743 and was Secretary-Treasurer later that year. In 2012, she was named President of the Teamsters Joint Council 25 Women's Committee. On Jan. 1, 2013, Debra was officially seated as the first woman President and first African-American woman President of Local 743, following a resounding election of the Have A Voice Slate.
James Thomas first joined Teamsters Local 743 more than 20 years ago when he began working at the Rush University Medical Center. In 2010, he was elected as Trustee to the local executive board and began serving members directly as a business representative. He won election for the second time and was seated as the local's new Secretary-Treasurer on Jan. 1, 2014. James is also a union musician and professional percussionist. His band, The Soul People, has been performing in Chicago since 2001.