Says by uniting together, we can give workers the opportunities they deserve
CHICAGO, IL—Today, Marc Perrone, a labor leader who has committed four decades to fighting for hard working families, was elected International President of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).
As a proud leader and member of the UFCW, Perrone has long fought to organize more members, bargain the best contracts possible, and hold irresponsible corporations accountable. His values as a labor leader have been defined by the belief that every worker has the right to a decent living, a reliable schedule, quality affordable health care, and respect on the job.
“The choice we face today is whether we will stand together and build an economy that lifts up all families, or watch as even more workers fall further behind and struggle to make ends meet,” Perrone said. “Cynics may believe that these divisions and inequities are irreversible. I do not. We, as a union, do not. I strongly believe that by uniting together we can give workers across North America the opportunities they deserve.”
Beginning today, Perrone will spend the coming weeks and months meeting with UFCW members throughout the United States and Canada. As part of this listening tour, Perrone will have one on one conversations, visit worksites, and utilize digital and social media platforms to engage with union members and hear their thoughts and ideas on how the UFCW can grow even stronger.
“The ideas to build a stronger union do not lie within any one individual,” Perrone said. “They lie within all of us. They lie in the collective wisdom and strength of 1.3 million UFCW members who work hard every day to support their families. I want to hear their ideas. I want to hear their vision. I want to hear what we can all do to become an even greater and stronger union for the decades ahead.”
Perrone will be succeeding retiring International President Joe Hansen.
Hansen started as a meatcutter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1962 and used his experience as a rank and file union activist to help lift up UFCW members and all workers. Hansen was elected International President in 2004 and helped steer the UFCW through a Great Recession, the flood of corporate money into politics, the single greatest legislative attack on labor in history, and the rise of income inequality.
“Even in the face of unprecedented challenges, Joe Hansen never lost sight of our members,” Perrone said. “His commitment and dedication to the hard-working men and women we represent will never be forgotten.”
During his tenure, Hansen increased union density in meatpacking and processing, formed important global labor alliances, and helped lead the labor movement’s positions on comprehensive immigration reform.
* For Perrone’s biography, and the announcement of new UFCW officers, please see below:
Biography of International President Marc Perrone:
Marc Perrone joined the Retail Clerks—which later became the UFCW—in 1971 while working as a courtesy clerk at Weingarten’s food store in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Since that time, he has held various positions within the UFCW, including Region 1-Eastern Director and National Director of Strategic Programs, Collective Bargaining and Organizing. For the last decade, he has served as International Secretary-Treasurer, keeping the UFCW on sound fiscal footing in a challenging climate.
New UFCW Officers Elected:
Under the UFCW International Constitution, the International Executive Board is charged with electing a replacement for a vacancy in the office of International President. The UFCW Executive Board consists of 50 International Vice Presidents, primarily local union leaders, and 5 Executive Committee members.
The UFCW International Executive Board also elected former Executive Vice President Pat O’Neill as International Secretary-Treasurer, Esther Lopez as Executive Vice President, and Stuart Appelbaum as Executive Vice President. Paul Meinema currently serves as Executive Vice President and National President of UFCW Canada. Executive Vice President Bill McDonough retired on October 31.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.