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Marc Perrone was elected international president of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), succeeding retiring President Joe Hansen.
As a longtime leader and member of the Chicago-based UFCW, Perrone has worked to organize more members, bargain contracts and hold corporations accountable for their actions. "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."
Perrone plans to 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 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, Ark. Since then, 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.
Hansen started as a meatcutter in Milwaukee in 1962 and used his experience as a rank-and-file union activist to help UFCW members and all workers. Hansen was elected international president in 2004. “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 strategic global labor alliances and helped lead the labor movement’s positions on comprehensive immigration reform.
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 VPs, primarily local union leaders, and five executive committee members.
The UFCW International Executive Board also elected former EVP Pat O’Neill as international secretary-treasurer and Esther Lopez and Stuart Appelbaum as EVPs. Paul Meinema currently serves as EVP and national president of UFCW Canada. EVP Bill McDonough retired Oct. 31.
The UFCW represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries.