Born and raised in Fiji, Mohammad Akbar is an Operating Room Assistant 1 who works in the Recovery Area at UC Davis MedCenter, making sure each of his patients are well taken care of after surgery. After joining AFSCME 3299 in 2012, he initially wasn’t sure what to make of it.  This was his first ever union job, and Mohammed wasn’t sure how it would be different from his previous non-union jobs.

It didn’t take long for Mohammed to see the union difference.  As a Muslim person of color, Mohammed had long been taught by those around him to keep his head down to avoid confrontation at the workplace.  But when he was called into his first department meeting at UC, Mohammad realized that he did not have to live with the same kind of fear he faced at other jobs.  He recognized that his union would protect him from unfair treatment and discrimination, and would always stand up for his rights on the job. “Joining 3299 felt like I had backup without ever having to call backup. I have a family outside of my family.”

Operating Room Assistant 1 Mohammad Akbar representing AFSCME 3299.

Almost a decade later, Mohammad is now a leader among his union siblings and uses his position to create a more diverse, inclusive work environment. This past year has made him push even harder towards this goal. “I am part of our union leadership because 3299 fights for justice, equality, and inclusion for all.  And in the times we are in right now, that’s never been more needed.”

Mohammad dedicates his free time to being involved with his local AAPI and Muslim community. With his family, he encourages those around him to live fearlessly and speak up when needed. Using the tools taught to him by his union, Mohammed has become an even more effective advocate, both inside and outside of work, for everyone’s right to be treated with equality, regardless of race, religion, nationality, or skin color.