UFCW Local 655 Shop Steward Laura Kelley has been personally invited by UFCW International President Joe Hansen to become a member of UFCW OUTreach, the International Union’s soon-to-be formed Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) constituency group. She is the first rank-and-file union member to be invited to join the new effort, the Labor Tribune learned.
The invitation was made when Hansen was attending Local 655’s annual Shop Stewards Educational Conference held several weeks ago.
“Laura has been an active, committed steward. We’re proud of her efforts and especially proud that her commitment has been recognized by our international president,” said Local 655 President David Cook. “I can’t think of a better person to represent Local 655 in this important effort.”
A COMMITTED ACTIVIST
Laura, a 16-year Local 655 member and member of the union’s executive board, works at the South County Shop ‘N Save. She’s been a steward for the past seven years.
“I’m flabbergasted,” Laura told the Labor Tribune. “To think that you can do something more to help our great union is, well...wonderful.”
After attending last year’s steward’s conference, Laura went back into her store and got every member there – 67 people – to write individual letters to both St. Louis Senator Jim Lembke and Representative Colria Brown (both Republicans) complaining about their anti-worker voting record on key issues.
“The senator was on the phone the day he received the flood of letters,” Cook said. “What’s going on?” he complained. “The people in your district are watching you,” I told him.
Both legislators lost their bids for re-election in last year’s cycle.
Direct action works. Laura Kelley is living proof!
UFCW OUTreach is dedicated to building mutual support between the union’s International, Regions, and Locals and the LGBT community and their allies to come together to organize for social and economic justice for all. It will be one of four UFCW constituency groups committed to broadening outreach to women and minorities, joining the longstanding United Latinos, Women’s Network, and Minority Coalition.