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September 9, 2015
Dear Haggen Members:
The news that Haggen has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy is incredibly difficult to hear and we know that it has caused you, and so many of your co-workers and your families, serious concern.
As your President, and after 43 years with UFCW, I have decided to retire. UFCW 21 has truly been the work of my life. First, I want to thank all of you, the members, who again and again show we are at our best when we take action together for a common and just cause. The fight for economic, political, and social justice is one I am happy to have been part of alongside all of you.
I could not have come to the decision to retire without the utmost confidence in the new generation of leadership of Todd Crosby and Faye Guenther. I am so pleased to be able to announce the Executive Board’s decision to appoint these two to take our union forward. I have worked with Todd for 20 years and Faye for over a decade. You are in exceptional hands. Both of them have great experience in the labor movement generally and in UFCW 21 specifically, and I am thankful to be able to have them follow my time here at UFCW 21.
I encourage you to read the enclosed letter from these two extraordinary leaders.
While I am very much looking forward to retirement, I will dearly miss the work and the relationships, the friendships and the struggles. From my early days as a Produce Clerk, to my decades as a staff person and President, I have been honored and humbled to work with all of you.
Over the years, there have been so many highlights it is impossible to mention them. We have grown to be the largest UFCW local in the nation and are often seen as one of the most progressive and active unions in the United States. While we did not win every time, we have certainly had to struggle for everything we have won. Together, we made change happen.
We have built a union that commands respect from employers, politicians, and other labor unions. We have helped start, and I am sure will continue to participate in, campaigns for equality in the workplace and in the community.
As I retire, it gives me great pride that Todd and Faye will be the leaders pushing our union forward. I encourage all of you to keep involved in your workplace -- stand up and stand together. Above all else, know that when workers take collective, thoughtful action, we can win better wages, benefits, and working conditions, as well as make the world a better place.
All the best to you,
…provides an opportunity to try new things, make changes where needed, and reach out to and connect with members. The future of our union will be best when we combine the expertise and knowledge of veteran members (be they younger or older) and the creative ideas that new members bring.
To be successful, we will need to continue to build a stronger and larger network of stewards across the state. Together, working with many of you, we have built this network to well over 1,000 stewards. Stewards are a worker’s greatest asset in a work site but to be in each work location, each shift, everyday, we will need thousands more. If you or someone you know at work might be interested in taking on this leadership role in our union please contact your Union Rep. by visiting ufcw21.org
Through collective, thoughtful action, we will continue to grow our membership and more effectively advance the power and interests of our members.
I come into the Presidency of UFCW 21 with a long history in our union. I started as a UFCW member back in 1988 as a Courtesy Clerk and then Produce Clerk at a Thriftway in Vancouver, WA. After graduating from College, I worked with United Farm Workers and then joined the staff of UFCW 21 in 1995 at the age of twenty-four. Since that time I have led countless contract campaigns and organized numerous new workplaces in all the industries UFCW 21 represents. Prior to my Presidency, I served as the Secretary-Treasurer and previously held positions throughout the organization such as Executive Vice-President, Staff Director, Organizer and Union Rep. As President I will also continue our political efforts to advance the interest of our members.
I am excited and humbled to become the new President here at UFCW 21. Our union will continue the organizing struggle that allows for workers to join and stay in our union. We will negotiate through strength to earn good wages, benefits, and working conditions and fight for improved public policies. Vigilant enforcement will be necessary to ensure our contracts and the law are followed. UFCW 21 is committed to strengthening and deepening our community partnerships throughout Washington state.
You can count on my commitment to work with all of you and continue to build our powerful union of workers.
I am honored to become Secretary-Treasurer of UFCW 21 after 15 years of fighting for workers. In the late 1990’s as an organizer for UFCW 21 I helped win first contracts for numerous health care facilities throughout the region. I then returned to my home state of Oregon to continue union work and earn my law degree. After passing the Washington Bar in 2008, I came back to work with the members of UFCW 21 and served as Membership Action Director, Staff Director, and Executive Vice-President.
I will work hard everyday on your behalf as we continue to build our union.