Cheri Rice, 64, is retiring after 20 years as bookkeeper and office manager at the Northwest Labor Press. Rice managed the paper’s business operations and worked with local unions to maintain accurate meeting notices and a 60,000-person subscriber list. Her last day was Nov. 28.
Rice was born in Kennewick, Washington, and graduated from Centennial High School in Gresham, Oregon. The daughter of a union meat cutter, she grew up reading the Labor Press, and ended up making a career of keeping labor organization offices running smoothly. She started in 1977 as a dues clerk at the Portland office of Sheet Metal Workers Local 16. In 1985 she went to work for United Food & Commercial Workers Local 555, where her father Keith Jons was by then the head of collective bargaining for the union’s meat division. She stayed there 12 years as dues clerk, bookkeeper and secretary to the union president. Throughout her union career, she was a member of Office and Professional Employees Local 11, which was led for a time by her brother-in-law Mike Rich-ards. Retiring with a union pension, she’ll spend more time with family, splitting her time between Neotsu, Oregon, and Arizona.
Succeeding Rice as office manager is Jill Lukens. Lukens, 48, comes to the Labor Press after 22 years managing a small downtown Portland dental office. Like Rice, she was raised union. She’s the daughter of Judy O’Connor, who worked as office manager of the Northwest Oregon Labor Council for nearly 16 years and then served as the organization’s executive secretary-treasurer from 1998 to 2009. Lukens’ husband of 29 years is Will Lukens, business representative at Machinists District Lodge W24.