On December, 15, 2014, Patrick J. O’Neill was elected International Secretary-Treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. As the union’s chief fiscal officer, Pat is the steward of the resources that enable the UFCW’s organizing, collective bargaining, and political programs to transform the lives of working people.
Pat began his union activism in 1979 when he began working on the kill floor – one of the most dangerous and physically demanding jobs in the meat packing industry – of the Farmland Foods (now Smithfield Foods) plant in Denison, Iowa. At a plant strike in 1982, he became a rank-and-file leader, rallying his fellow union members to fight company demands to cut wages and benefits. His actions won the respect of his co-workers, who elected him the union’s chief steward at the plant shortly after the conclusion of the strike.
Since 1986, Pat has served in several UFCW positions. As Director of Collective bargaining, he spearheaded a national unity bargaining program that mobilized and engaged tens of thousands of UFCW members and activists in innovative campaigns to raise living and working standards for workers in UFCW’s core industries. As Director of Organizing, he lead the most comprehensive organizing effort in UFCW history, his multi-layered organizing strategy brought together local unions and the International to wage comprehensive organizing campaigns designed to increase union density and UFCW market share.
Pat brings his rank-and-file activist focus to his responsibility of growing the UFCW. Though his eye is on the industry-wide organizing to grow the UFCW, he has never forgotten the singular perspective of a meatpacking kill floor – the simple knowledge that with a union, any job can bring dignity, family-supporting pay and benefits, and the opportunity to pursue a better life.
Pat currently serves as President of Union Network International (UNI) Commerce sector, a key part of the international labor organization representing 15 million workers in 900 unions in more than 100 countries.
You can follow Pat on Twitter @UFCWPat