Teamster Advantage Director Mark Orr Appointed President of Needles Chamber of Commerce

In July, Teamster Advantage Program Director Mark Orr was appointed as the new City of Needles Chamber of Commerce President for a 1-year term. Teamster Advantage connects union members to nearly 1,000 locally owned businesses that offer a discount to members in exchange for free advertising and increased business.

“We created Teamster Advantage to help keep money circulating locally, to develop our local communities,” said Randy Korgan, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 1932. “Real economic development means supporting workers and local businesses, not bending over backward for developers and big corporations.”

Teamsters Local 1932, a union of over 14,000 members, is currently a part of dozens of Chambers across San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Orr is also a member of the City of Redlands Chamber of Commerce Executive Board. The Needles Chamber of Commerce selected Orr because of his recent work in building up locally owned businesses through Teamster Advantage. Needles, a city of approximately 5,000 residents, including Local 1932 members, sits along the Colorado River and is well-situated to attract members all across San Bernardino County on their way to travel destinations.

“Needles is a city with so much potential, but there is a huge need to keep taxpayer funds local so we can keep the city growing,” said Orr. “When people shop at locally owned businesses, their money is recycled throughout the community far better than when going at a corporate-owned entity. This is why Teamster Advantage was created, and I am proud to join the city’s Chamber of Commerce to further promote our mission and improve the city’s business climate.”

Local 1932 members who live and work in Needles have taken up an ambitious effort to do their part to revitalize the city, which has seen its share of ups and downs over the past decades. Earlier this summer, members of Teamsters Local 1932 knocked on over 1,500 doors in Needles to listen to community concerns amid the city’s explosive growth in cannabis cultivation. “The cannabis industry has employed so many people in Needles, a traditional union town with roots in the railroad industry,” says Korgan. “The working people here know what it’s like for a single industry to take over the town. But, as they did once before when the railroad hub was at its peak, Needles workers and residents can bargain with industry to help take care of urgent needs in the community.”

Orr aims to better serve the Chamber by bringing insight gained from the canvassing. Orr’s goal is to open a grocery store and obtain further specialized medical services, both services that the city currently lacks.

“Sadly, there is a void of union participation in local Chambers across the region. Local 1932 and I are proud to bring common-sense solutions that help working families, like Teamster Advantage, to local business owners and others who currently participate in regional Chambers,” says Orr. “When we work together, there is no doubt that we can transform the Inland Empire for the better.”