Meet Kevin Cheng, our Digital Outreach Coordinator
As Digital Outreach Coordinator, Kevin Cheng keeps union members informed about the newest Union Plus benefits through social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. To complement his travel hobby, he often takes advantage of the Union Plus Travel Center himself for the discount and the customer service, such as for his most recent trip to Los Angeles, California.
What brought you to Union Plus?
I came from a marketing background and most recently worked at the marketing department of a premier political publication prior to Union Plus. Right after the big crash of 2008, publishing as a whole went into a panic due to severe budget constraints brought upon by the Great Recession. In 2010, the organization I worked for were looking at downsizing options; I decided that instead of having the possibility of being laid-off forced upon me, I was going to seek new opportunities elsewhere.
Fortunately, I was spared from being laid-off but was also lucky enough to land a position as the Digital Outreach Coordinator here at Union Plus. A place where I get to work on trying to help further the labor movement -- something that became important to me after having seen peoples' (colleagues) lives in disarray from unexpected layoffs.
What do you enjoy most about working with union member?
When I first joined Union Plus in 2010, social media was more-or-less a mystery to the labor movement. It wasn't until the States Fight which began in Wisconsin that social media exploded in both popularity and importance to labor. I came in right before the States Fights happened, and it was really refreshing to be plugged into a world where passion ran so high.
One hundred thousand people came out in opposition to Governor Walker during the frigid Wisconsin winter to protest -- that was quite a sight to behold! And folks who were on social media had the chance to see and hear first-hand accounts on what was happening on the ground, in real time! Not only that, they were able to keep these stories in the media by sharing them relentlessly. I thought, "Wow, THAT'S a movement I'm proud to be part of."
What are you looking forward to in the spring/summer?
I'm a travel bug who looks up to Anthony Bourdain. I take pleasure in learning about culture, particularly through each cultureâs unique cuisines. In a few weeks, I'll be traveling back to my motherland, Taiwan, for the first time since I've been in the US. That's probably going to be my biggest trip since Asia is a bit harder to reach when you're on the East Coast.
I've also got New Orleans, Dewey Beach (in Delaware) and Hawaii planned for this summer. I'm sure I'll be using the Union Plus Car Rental Discount on a couple of these trips -- especially ones I intend to make a road-trip out of -- to save a few miles on my car.
What has been your favorite excursion?
My favorite excursion has to be Tobago of Trinidad & Tobago. Coming from the hustle & bustle of Washington DC, it's nice to go to a place where the population isn't so overwhelming. Where the most important thing I had to do each day was getting to the fish market to get my hands on the day's fresh catch. Mostly, where scuba diving with manta rays is the norm on a weekday.
I urge you all to check it out if you get the chance. Trinidad gives you the city-like atmosphere if you're a city-dweller -- and Tobago is all-about relaxation and soaking up sunshine.
What makes a great trip vs. a bad trip?
It depends. Most people think that at my age (27), nightlife is the biggest aspect to a trip. I would say that while it complements a trip, it definitely isn't required. A good trip constitutes meeting good people, eating local cuisine and learning more about the area and the culture that inhabits it. A bad trip is just the opposite.
One of the worst trips I've been on is to a resort in the Dominican Republic. It was mid-summer yet scarcely anyone was there. We ate resort food, which was more-or-less American food. We didn't get a chance to explore the area, converse with locals or dive-in and see what makes the Dominicans great people. I swore off resorts after that trip.
On your most recent trip to LA, why did you decide to use the Union Plus Travel Center?
I had a business meeting with International Labor Communications Association (ILCA) in Los Angeles. And, if you've ever been to LA, you'd know that the city is impossible to navigate without a car. Public transportation is nearly non-existent -- least of which if your hotel is in downtown LA and your meeting is on the other side of town.
I used the Union Plus Car Rental Discount to help alleviate that problem. I made no reservations prior (although it's advised that you do), showed up at National Car Rental right outside LAX and was able to rent a car, easily get the Union Plus discount and have everything paid for -- within 10 minutes. Things were seamless and they even offered to give me a convertible version of the car I rented (Dodge Challenger) free of charge! Unfortunately, they didn't have any in stock. But, as I've always said, it's the thought that counts.
How was your experience with the Union Plus Car Rental Discount?
My experience was fantastic. I had no problems checking out and renting a car. Service was fast and very helpful -- got me in, out and on my way within 10 minutes. Returning the car after my stay in LA was even easier! You drive to the car rental office (National Car Rental, in my case) and they have a huge parking lot ready to take returning cars. All you do is park, wait a few minutes for them to do a quick inspection and boom, you're on your way to the airport via a shuttle service they provide.
Simple, clean and very affordable.
Would you recommend the program?
I would definitely recommend this program. Union members have a vast amount of discounts, deals and savings available on UnionPlus.org -- that I urge everyone to check out. Using this program saved me 25% on my car rental bill, which was a big deal. On future trips, the ease with which this program functions and the amount you can save -- it's a no brainer that I'll be using this program on future trips.
Any traveling tips?
On long plane rides, make sure to purchase a seat-cushion that helps alleviate pressure on your spine and compression socks to increase blood circulation in your feet. You may not always have the chance to easily stand up and walk around to increase blood circulation during long flights -- having a good seat-cushion and a pair of compression socks can really help. Your sore bottom and swollen feet will thank me for heeding this advice!
Do you use any other Union Plus program?
In addition to the car rental program, I personally use the 15% AT&T Wireless discount, Health Club discount, Goodyear discount and various Entertainment discounts that Union Plus offers. I also plan on attending grad school at some point in the future and will be taking advantage of the College Test Prep discounts as well.
Union Members! Have a traveling tip or story? Comment Below!