Executive Vice President and Organizing Director
Patrick J. O’Neill is a leading voice and aggressive advocate for working people at the forefront of the new labor movement—a movement dedicated to uniting millions of workers in unions. As Director of Organizing, Pat leads the UFCW effort to organize workers in UFCW core industries. It’s the most comprehensive organizing effort in UFCW history. O’Neill’s multi-layered organizing structure brings together local unions, UFCW regions, and the International to wage comprehensive, strategic organizing campaigns designed to build union density and increase UFCW market share.
O’Neill brings his rank-and-file activist focus to his responsibility of growing the UFCW. Though Pat’s eye is on industry-wide organizing to grow the UFCW, O’Neill has never forgotten the singular perspective of the 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.
O’Neill 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 meatpacking 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, O’Neill has served in several UFCW positions. O’Neill was elected an 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 core industries. He was appointed Director of Organizing in 2007.