Coming to us with a graphic design degree from Portland State, this is Teresa’s first position working in organized labor. Her first impression included being pleasantly surprised by and impressed with how closely all the departments here worked. “I’ve worked for companies where sometimes departments didn’t interact at all, so it’s been wonderful to feel like part of a close- knit group and be able to talk to everyone about their jobs.” Her favorite design project so far for the Local has been the 555 Leader, partly because she is a fan of layout design, but partly because she loves being able to build incrementally on to it month after month, making it essentially a living design. She likes to say that “all successful designs are created with intent as an answer to the ‘why.’” A native Oregonian and 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do (she used to train for 4-6 hours per day!), Teresa also enjoy sewing on a vintage 70s sewing machine given to her by a friend, experiencing the outdoors, and hanging out with her close- knit family of six.
Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN (fondly known as Naptown), Jason moved here in 2009 when he transferred to Portland State. He describes himself as a “recovering academic,” given that he made it part way through his doctorate before he decided to stop studying race and class and politics and instead experience it by working in Labor. He applied to Local 555 because, as he says, UFCW is the best that Labor has to offer. After sitting down with leadership in Tigard he realized that this was a group of people who genuinely care, which made choosing Local 555 over his other job offers an easy decision. He enjoys knowing that when he goes in to work it is with a team of dedicated people who play a part in something that really matters. He and his wife have a two-year-old daughter, Alesya, and another baby on the way; both children will grow up bilingual (at the very least) because Jason speaks English to them and his wife teaches them her native Russian. Fun fact about Jason: he ended up spending three or four years off from college doing tour managing and booking for hip-hop groups.
Aly came to us from the research team at SEIU, choosing to join Local 555 because it allowed her a more hands-on, member-focused experience. Besides, she says, the interview process gave her a window into the culture here at UFCW and made her want to be part of something where everyone is so close-knit, proud to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and passionate about change. She came to Oregon from Princeton, NJ about a year ago and finds herself still learning how to deal with the darkness and damp of an Oregon winter. However, she considers that a reasonable trade-off for living in an area where she can look out her window and see a forest and just wander out and pick a basket of fruit from her neighbor’s trees. When asked what surprised her about Local 555 she says it was the depth and breadth of experience; she loves knowing that she can absorb knowledge from so many people who’ve spent their lives dedicated to the Labor movement. Aly speaks four (count ‘em, four!) languages: English, Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi.
Born in Houston, TX but raised in Omaha, NE, Tim isn’t too concerned about the Pacific NW weather because, well, “it’s better than Omaha!” He has a Masters’ degree in negotiation and dispute resolution and his impressive résumé includes working for HUD, organizing for President Obama’s re-election campaign, working for an environmental nonprofit, and living in Japan for three and a half years. (He met his wife while there; they have a little girl named April who just turned 16 months and has recently learned one of those most critical of toddler tricks: how to make a kissy-face for the camera.) He had worked in Washington State for a while and his wife had taught for Lewis & Clark, so making their way back to the Pacific Northwest was an easy decision for their family. When asked to sum up Local 555, Tim notes that some organizations out there are staffed with people just collecting a paycheck, or people whose functional groups are separated too much from the rest of the organization, but that here he feels a depth of concern for the members, a passion for the work we do, interconnectedness between departments, and a sense of welcome.
Originally from Washington State, Joe came to Portland State to wrestle and has never looked back! Joe is part of a Union family; his wife, Shawna, is a lead organizer for 503, and he himself joined the labor movement in 2000 with SEIU. [Married for just over two years, they love to spend their spare time getting their blended family of five children (ages 11-15) out of the house and into the wilderness and the water.] Joe chose to come to Local 555 for the chance to work more directly with members and to build power in the workplace. He’s also a fan of the political wins by Local 555 and the ABC in the past several years, since he firmly believes in building power across the board: balancing policy wins with bargaining wins. So far his favorite thing about being part of Local 555 is the chance to consider new ideas and remain nimble in response to change.