Executive Vice President, UFCW
As Director of Organizing, Patrick J. O’Neill spearheads the UFCW’s effort to build power for workers in core industries. Appointed in 2007, he is leading the most comprehensive organizing effort in UFCW history, and his multi-layered organizing strategy is bringing together local unions, UFCW regions, and the International to wage comprehensive, tactical 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 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. He was elected as International Vice President in 2003 and Executive Vice President in 2004, when he was appointed Director of Collective Bargaining. In that capacity, 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.
Pat currently serves as co-chair of the Board of Directors of the Council of Institutional Investors (CII), the leading trade organization for the largest public, corporate, and Taft-Hartley pension plans whose combined assets amount to over $3 trillion under management.
Pat’s work developing and leading the Strategic and Organizing Group and implementing the directives of the Unity Agenda puts him at the helm of UFCW’s critical growth efforts.