A Message from UFCW Local 75 President Kevin Garvey
My name is Kevin Garvey, and on May 2, 2016, the UFCW Local 75 Executive Board elected me by acclamation to fulfill the term of retiring President Lennie Wyatt.
My background with the labor movement started in 1979 as a member of Local 7A, Butchers Union, working at the John Morrell Packing Company in Cincinnati. In 1981, I affiliated with Local 610, Butchers Union, working as a journeyman meat cutter at Keller’s Market. In 1989, I was recruited to join the staff of UFCW Local 1099, which would later merge with Local 911 to create Local 75. During my time on staff, I’ve been assigned as an Organizer, Union Representative, Director of Representatives, Collective Bargaining Representative, Executive Vice President, and Secretary-Treasurer. I have also served as a labor delegate to many labor federations within the Local’s jurisdiction, and I am a trustee to the Heartland Health and Wellness Fund and Central Ohio Retail Pension Fund.
Knowledge is power, which is why I pursued my education to be able to help the membership in every capacity that I can. I have Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Labor Studies. I have been married to my wife, Paige, for 35 years and have four adult children. Paige and I reside in Bright, Indiana and attend St. Teresa’s Catholic Parish.
I would also like to take this opportunity to lay out goals for Local 75 and the membership. Most importantly, I would love to hear your feedback about our organization. We have developed a new servicing program to build a stronger and more effective union. The key to this new program is the Member to Member Link, through which rank and file members will assist staff union representatives. Through this program, we will create more leadership among the rank and file membership and above all, more time for member-to-member engagement.
I have laid out steps for staff and Member to Member Links to ensure accountability, job duties, key member involvement, steward participation, and most importantly, servicing the membership. To ensure we can achieve success with this new servicing program, I have reduced staff territories from 2,200 members to 1,500 members per union representative. Local 75 has approximately 475 work facilities under contract. My goal as your newly elected President is to visit work locations at least two times per week. Again, the purpose is to hear from the membership and listen to how we can make our organization more viable for you, the member.
I ask for your assistance and feedback to help us grow and become a more effective organization. There are many ways you can help. Local 75 has various constituency groups that help focus on the membership and the community at large. You and your family can participate in membership programs and events that we have throughout the year.
At the heart of Local 75 are three things that we must do well: 1) we must ensure that local, state, and federal officials hear the voices of workers and promote economic policies that will benefit working families; in addition, we must be cognizant of adverse legislations that will undermine pathways for working Americans to make progress; 2) as I outlined above, we must fulfill our commitment to provide better servicing to our membership and bargain collectively as a union with full solidarity of our members; and 3) we must organize the non-union competition in the industries under our jurisdiction. It is hard to push unionized employers up the economic scale when non-union employers are not providing similar economic packages to their employees.
We are laying the foundation to reenergize our organization. We are upgrading our new member orientation programs, our new steward training, and the education of our union stewards to ensure we are meeting your needs. We are refocusing our energy in our Political Department, as well as in our Organizing Department.
We’ve developed a new leadership structure. Bryon O’Neal is the Secretary-Treasurer, Karen Brown is the Executive Vice President, and we have directors for each major city to ensure consistent policies in servicing the membership. The director in Toledo is Dale Parker, the director in Dayton is Scott Adkins, and the director in Cincinnati is Steve Wittekind.
Thank you for your support for the future. In closing, please feel free to share your ideas as we move forward.