Throwback Thursday: Meet AFSCME Retiree Member Joyce Hobbs

By Pete Levine ·

When Joyce Hobbs was a young girl, she always heard her mother, a member of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union, chant “Union! Union! Union!” Even as a child, she would picket alongside her mom, who taught her the value of having a voice, having a union, and fighting for a seat at the table. Later, Joyce assumed the proud role of a union activist with AFSCME. And, after a career spent working in Philadelphia’s Police Department, Joyce is still fighting on the picket line with her sisters and brothers as a member of AFSCME Retirees.

Q. What job did you do while working? For how long did you do it?

I worked as a data processor for the Philadelphia Police Department for 32 years. I was also the Vice President of AFSCME Local 1637 (District Council 33). I retired in September 2000.

Q. What do you miss most about working? 

I miss my friends, the little family that we had. We used to go out for everybody’s birthdays. Unfortunately, some of us have passed on. There are four of us left out of 27, and we still have lunch on each other’s birthdays.

Q. What did being a working member of AFSCME mean to you?

I learned a lot about what was going on in the world, different issues like voting rights, as well as issues before the Supreme Court. I also learned how to work with management. AFSCME was very helpful in that area. I learned that you have rights. You don’t just have to do what management says.

Q. What does having a secure retirement allow you to do now? 

I’m able to live comfortably, and I still have time to stay involved in my union.

Q. What do you enjoy most about retirement? What is your favorite thing to do?

The main thing I like is that I don’t have to get up at 6 a.m. anymore! I can get up at 8:30. But even after retirement, I was involved in the union. I worked at Local 1637 as an admin for years. And I still go on marches and walks and phone banks, or anything else involved with the union. I’m always out on the streets.