Our tenure as elected leaders of UFCW Local 555 started in January of 2009. As we began our fourth term this year we were amazed at the thought of how quickly the last nearly-ten years have passed, and also how much has happened during them.
We are responsible for implementing a vision of the Local in which we are all increasingly stronger together, but nothing that we accomplish could be done without the magic of the collective strength that each member builds upon.
Both of us come from Union families. Jeff’s father used to bring him to look in a mirror and tell him to look at himself. “That’s the strength of the union, right there,” he would say. And then he would continue, “and that’s also the weakness.” His point? That a union’s strengths come from its members…and so do its weaknesses.
The strength of our members has been particularly evident lately. Since we were voted in to run the Local, we’ve seen our membership grow by over 6,000 individuals. We’ve become one of the strongest UFCWs in the world. We’ve saved the pension plan and the health & welfare trust: ensuring our collective health and retirement for generations to come. We’ve consolidated our retail contracts into one Unity Negotiation collective: making our voice that much louder when we are up against our employers. We’ve racked up win after win in our contract negotiations as well as in our policy successes.
We, the union, stand alone in our goal to protect workers’ rights for working families. Corporations don’t have our interests at heart, and neither do many of our elected officials. We are our own protection, and we take that responsibility very seriously.
Thank you for standing together and congratulations on everything you’ve made happen in the past and will make happen in the future.