Hello, everyone. I haven’t been on Facebook much lately, not because the news is always bad, or that half the things I post don’t come up on anyone’s dashboard, but because I’ve been working on a huge project. And I’m going to burst if I don’t share it with you.
I’ve worked for Fred Meyer since May 2009 and have also been a member of UFCW Local 555. As years passed, as I moved from Seafood Clerk to Meat Cutter to my position now in Produce, it became obvious that there is something very wrong.
I haven’t seen a representative in months. I’ve been to ten different stores, they haven’t seen a representative in months. We’re paying dues to ghosts. In these past eight years, there has been just one who did more than sit and poke at their iPad in the deli, confront members about union dues, and just bend right over when the boss came to fire one of us.
And I understand that it’s hard to keep track of thousands of members. However, Laurie Kelly did all that and invested in us—she cared—and lost her job because of it, along with another who ceaselessly inspires, Ida Baumer. Laurie walked the entire store, both stories, and talked with anyone who’d listen. She inspired me to participate, to make time to meet and work with our current president, Dan Clay.
He had coffee with me on a few occasions, bought me books, and strung me along with prospects of a job for a few months. Laurie told me it was a job I didn’t want, and lost hers later that year, just before Christmas. And we’ve all watched as things continue to get worse and worse.
It’s not all bad news though. Over the last two years, our collective concern has blossomed into a cause, a community that holds to direct democracy and transparency, Retail Workers for a Democratic Union. As RWDU, we have tried to hold President Dan Clay and Treasurer Jeff Anderson accountable for their actions and use of our money.
These two can’t keep Journeypersons away from minimum wage. They lost track of 1.7 million in pension funds until a member spotted the error. And they refuse to help or even hear us and delete our questions and concerns on their Facebook posts. And on and on, and on.
Here’s what all this has to do with the project. Last week our Local announced the nominations and elections, and I’m collecting signatures to get nominated for president and fill the highest offices with five other excellent members from both Oregon and Washington.
We have until the 7th of August to collect the signatures needed, ballots are mailed out on the 18th and tallied on September 7th. I’m going to take as much time in August as possible to visit members in both states.
I’m incredibly grateful for all your support and patience and kind words. This is a huge opportunity and one I do not take lightly. Please let me know if you have any questions. If you’re a member and would like to learn more, help or get involved, let me know.