As we close out 2023, I am left with two overriding thoughts.
The first is that I’m grateful to the more than 8,000 members we represent within our six counties. For the work you do, sometimes under dire circumstances, but more for the kindness with which you conduct your lives. I recall after the leadership conference a couple of years ago, the Murano staff telling me how our group was the most friendly and respectful they had ever served. That was a proud moment for me personally and one I will never forget. I’m also grateful for the team we’ve assembled to help organize our stores and develop worksite leaders in preparation for the 2025 grocery negotiations.
This brings me to my second key thought; we are raising the standards, not just of our Union, but within the communities and greater working class we belong to. Here are just some of the highlights of what we achieved in 2023:
Organized the last of the two Fred Meyer General Merchandise units in Sumner and Lacey
Helped pass the strongest tenant rights protections in the country for Tacoma residents
Endorsed 4 progressive candidates in Tacoma and Olympia and won those races in spite of stiff opposition
Built real and lasting relationships in our communities that will stand with us in 2025 contract negotiations
Earmarked the July .25 cent dues increase to the Strike & Defense Fund, thereby ensuring faster growth
Placed our local in its strongest financial position in years even while investing in improvements to the Union Hall
And perhaps made the greatest investment of all, through the training and development of 367 staff and members
We even discovered a real-life Santa Clause within our Union who spent precious time reading “The Night Before Christmas” for the kids at the Hall
But as I like to say, we are just getting started. We will be kicking off 2024 with the dedication of the Ronald Hayes Training Center and the unveiling of a mural by esteemed local artist Angelina Villalobos that highlights the inclusion and diversity of 367 on January 4th at 5 pm.
The rest of the year will bring a commitment to building Member Engagement Teams at every location and developing leaders who are able and willing to stand in solidarity against any and all threats to our Union.
We wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday,
Michael Hines, President
Mike Solberg, Secretary/Treasurer
UFCW Local 367