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Member Profile: Augustin Martinez

A native of Acapulco, one of the premier Mexican tourist destinations, it’s no surprise that Agustin Martinez began his career in the hospitality industry.

That didn’t change when he moved to Los Angeles, where he initially made his living working in restaurants.

But 10 years ago, he moved to San Francisco where he took that customer service mindset into the medical field, with the goal of providing the best possible experience for every patient he meets.

“My experience helped me because it’s about how you interact with people,” said Martinez, a medical assistant who has worked at Mission Neighborhood Health Center for the past seven years. “It’s about treating the patient well so they feel comfortable when they come to see a doctor.”

Martinez likes working at the clinic, which primarily serves the Latinx immigrant community. “The majority of the patients at the clinic are seniors. I treat them as I’d like my parents to be treated,” he said.

Those “people person” skills also come in handy as a shop steward for the past year at the Mission Bernal Clinic.

Martinez said his coworkers urged him to become a steward after seeing how he defended them against a former nurse at the clinic who often asked them to do things that went beyond their job description or had no training in doing.

“I was the only one who stood up to her and told her things shouldn’t be that way,” Martinez recalled. “When everyone else is right, I shut up. But it’s not fair to stay quiet when they’re wrong.”

That search for fairness and equality is what Martinez said he likes about being part of the union.

“I like it because I feel safe knowing that … the employer cannot treat us unfairly,” said. “And, there’s a group of people who are there to support me and help me solve the problem.”

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