December 5, 2008 Volume 109 Number 23

Clay takes helm at UFCW Local 555

Dan Clay has been appointed acting president of Tigard-based United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555.

Clay was elected president of the union in October, but the term of office doesn’t officially start until Jan. 1, 2009. Clay defeated Secretary-Treasurer Jeff McDonald in a race to succeed four-term incumbent Gene Pronovost, who did not seek re-election due to retirement.

Jeff Anderson, a union organizer and longtime member of Local 555, was elected secretary-treasurer. He defeated Executive Vice President Roberta Cunningham for the open seat.

Rather than wait two months for the new administration to be installed, Local 555’s Executive Board worked out a deal whereby McDonald resigned as secretary-treasurer. Clay then was appointed by the Executive Board to complete McDonald’s term of office. Pronovost then resigned as president. Under the union’s constitution, the secretary-treasurer becomes acting-president until a successor is named. No successor will be named.

This all happened Nov. 6.

Local 555 represents approximately 18,500 workers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is the largest private-sector union in the state.

The union is in the midst of contract negotiations for some 6,000 grocery workers, meat cutters and central checkout clerks at Kroger (Fred Meyer, QFC), Albertsons, and Safeway stores in the Portland area. Employees have been working under contract extensions since July 26.

Clay, Anderson and the bargaining committee met with the employer representative on Nov. 24. Further talks have been scheduled for Dec. 18-19.

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