Western Region Elects New Leadership

May 7, 2022

Meeting virtually over Zoom on Saturday, March 19, delegates to UE’s Western Region council meeting heard shop reports, reviewed the region’s political action and education work, and elected several new officers and representatives to represent the region on the national union’s General Executive Board. Locals from across the region gave shop reports, and President Charlene Winchell reported on the union’s education, political and international solidarity work.

“We will succeed for us today and for future generations of our membership”

In his national officers’ report, General Secretary-Treasurer Andrew Dinkelaker reported that the UE national officers are watching closely what is happening in Ukraine. He pointed out that it is working people who bear the brunt of war, while those in power — the one percent and corporate interests — often benefit. He gave as an example the “eye popping” $205 billion in profits made by 25 of world’s biggest fossil fuel corporations last year. Those corporations, he suggested, are likely to now use the “cover” of war in Ukraine to raise prices even further.

He encouraged UE members to be mindful of the question of who profits from any conflict, and a critical eye on how corporations and the one percent on any side of a military conflict exploit it for profit.

Turning his focus to the U.S., Dinkelaker said that workers are seeing the most economic leverage they have had in years. However, he pointed out, this leverage is only effective when workers actively fight back against employers to secure gains. The workers at hundreds of Starbucks locations across the country who have been organizing with Workers United are an example of this, he said, and he also pointed out several examples from the UE locals that had given shop reports earlier in the day.

Dinkelaker then reported on several initiatives that the UE officers are implementing in order to better support staff and locals. UE’s approach to internal organizing is based on engaging the membership in fights to make improvements, he said. Getting members involved in a fight with the boss is the key to greater participation — as well as membership signup for those locals with open shops.

“Though we have challenges, the UE is doing what we can to support the membership in fighting collectively against the forces of the employer and the one percent,” Dinkelaker concluded. “I know that we will succeed for us today and for future generations of our membership.”

Elections

In contested elections, delegates chose Bryan Martindale, Local 1421, as the region’s new president, and Ashley Clemons, Local 1004, as the new secretary-treasurer. Vice President Larry Hopkins, Local 1177, was re-elected to his position without opposition.

Sam Foti, Local 716, Melissa Hamblin, Local 728, Andrew Moore, Local 770, Chuck Davis, Local 777, Victoria Hilton, Local 808, Nandell Baines, Local 977, Fred Hatef, Local 1008, Fatima Anda, Local 1018, Diana Martinez, Local 1077, Shaun Mazur, Local 1107, Delores Phillips, Local 1118, David Bulwan, Local 1123, Malik Grant, Local 1135, Mike Plachy, Local 1139, Sharry Niedfeldt, Local 1161, Mike Tomaloff, Local 1186, Thai Nguyen, Local 1187, and Jessica Van Eman, Local 1477 were elected to serve on the region’s executive board. Hatef, Martinez, Phillips, Tomaloff and Van Eman, along with the three regional officers, will represent the region on the GEB. Armando Robles, Local 1110, and Virginia Miranda, Local 1077, were elected as trustees.

In her final address to the council, outgoing President Winchell thanked the members of the region for “helping me grow and learn.”

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