Union Label & Services Trades Department, AFL-CIOExecutive Board
About President Kline
Richard Kline began his labor career as a member of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. He taught in New York City public schools and at Federal City College in Washington, DC. For many years he was an instructor at the George Meany Center in Silver Spring, MD.
A graduate of Lafayette College, Kline served as Director of Communications for the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers International Union for 31 years.
Richard assumed the office of President for the Union Label and Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO in 2008.
About Debby Szeredy
Debby Szeredy was elected in October of 2013 to the position of Executive Vice President of the APWU. She is proud to be the first woman elected to this executive position in the history of the APWU and now works in DC at the APWU Headquarters. She is very proud to be a part of a great inspiring team of leaders that want to make a difference in this movement and to be a part of the people’s revolution. Prior to her leadership move she was the first woman president for Mid-Hudson Area Local in Newburgh, NY for three terms. She was also the Vice President of the Hudson Valley Area Federation, AFL-CIO and New York State Research and Education Director and actively involved in the three Central Labor Councils in the three counties where she represented a plant and over 124 Associate Offices of APWU Members.
A union activist since she graduated from high school, Debby was active in the Retail Clerks Union in Southern California and later tried to organize a union at a school for Mentally and Physically Challenged Children in Arizona, eventually being fired for the attempt.
Debby was hired by the USPS in 1977. She met and was inspired by Moe Biller (then NY Metro President, later APWU President) on a picket line for a fired president in Phoenix Metro Area Local. Moe Biller had her sign on that day to become a union steward, the first of her numerous and invaluable union activities. She later met and was inspired by Joyce B Robinson, Research & Education Director of APWU during the founding years of APWU/POWER (Post Office Women for Equal Rights). Debby became the APWU/POWER Western Region Coordinator and she helped to bring women into the movement, encouraging women to reach for leadership roles. She spent 17 years in Arizona where she held the position of State President of Arizona as well as the first woman Local President of Phoenix Metro one of the larger APWU locals in the country. She was a delegate to the Phoenix Central Labor Council and was involved with the CLUW, OSHA, Arbitration, Negotiations, EEO, OWCP, and labor law. Debby left Arizona and transferred to Newburgh, NY in 1992. While in NY she again became heavily involved in the APWU union movement. In 2009 National APWU Union President Bill Burrus awarded her the 2009 Leadership Award as she had been elected and displayed great leadership in two different parts of the country. Debby has a beautiful son Matthew who grew up sharing her union inspiration at hundreds of union meetings, rallies, and conventions and is her heart and joy.
About George Gallis
George Galis was born and raised in the union steel mill town of Monessen, Pennsylvania. He began working for his father’s company, Galis Painting, at age 12. He continued to work as an industrial and commercial painter through high school and eventually joined IUPAT Local Union 327 at age 16. He continued to work as a painter through college and after college.
In 1978, Mr. Galis received his B.A. from California University of Pennsylvania, with a degree in Political Science. He continued his career as a painter until 1983 when he was appointed as an organizer for Local Union 6 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In 1986, Mr. Galis was elected business manager/financial secretary of Local Union 6 and served in that capacity until being appointed as a general representative for the IUPAT in 1993. Mr. Galis served as an IUPAT representative until 2002 when he began serving as General Secretary-Treasurer. He was unanimously elected at the 2004 General Convention and reelected in 2009 and 2014.
As business manager/financial secretary of Local Union 6, Mr. Galis improved the local union by restoring it financially and making it a viable part of the Western Pennsylvania labor movement. He settled 3 collective bargaining agreements with the Western PA employers that included wage and benefit increases and stronger contract language, and did this while avoiding strikes for the first time in 30 years. He also implemented the first market recovery agreement to recapture lost markets.
As a general representative, Mr. Galis was among the first IUPAT COMET teachers, personally teaching over 150 COMET classes. He was instrumental in the formation and full affiliation of 3 district councils. He also ran several successful organizing campaigns and led a team of representatives in the Eastern Region in a program called Union Building 96, which laid the foundation for organizing structure and tactics in our district councils.
As General Secretary-Treasurer, aside from his constitutional duties, Mr. Galis serves as a trustee for the LMCI, FTI, and the IUPAT Pension Fund. He was instrumental in the creation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement Guidebook, which serves as a model for many IUPAT Collective Bargaining Agreements. He was the author of the Top Workplace Performance Plan, which serves as an organizing tool and ensures IUPAT members are the best in the Industry. He also led the way in developing and running the IUPAT leadership series which trains new IUPAT leaders.
During his career, Mr. Galis graduated from the Harvard University Trade Union Program and received a Bachelors Degree from the National Labor College.
Mr. Galis and his wife Dana have been married since 1988. They have two sons, Emilio and Zachary.
About Otis Ducker
Otis Ducker is currently a member of the American Federation of Musicians, of the United States and Canada, local 161-710 Washington, DC. He joined local 496 in his hometown of New Orleans, LA approximately sixty years ago. He proformed as a professional musician and bandleader in New Orleans, and traveled throughout the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas for years until entering the Army. He was stationed at Fort Belvoir, VA with the 75th Army Band. Upon being discharged from the service, he transferred to the then local 710, Washington, DC and served in capacities of Board Member, Business Agent, Vice-President, and Secretary-Treasurer, until the local merged with the then local 161, Washington, DC. Otis is currently a member of the local 161-710 Executive Board, AFM Convention Delegate and he chairs the AFM Diversity Committee.
Otis Ducker worked for the Federal Government at the National Institutes of Health and retired as a federal executive after thirty-three years of service. He is founder and President of Otis Ducker & Associates, Management Consultants specializing in Small Business Development and Minority Procurement.
Otis lives in Prince Georges County Maryland with his wife, Gloria. They have five adult children, and six grandchildren.
About Joseph Sellers
President, Sheet Metal Workers International Association
Joseph Sellers, Jr. started his apprenticeship in 1980 and became a journeyman four years later. In 1994, he was elected to his first term on the Local 19 Executive Board. Joe was appointed to the position of Training Coordinator in 1996 until he was elected to the position of Business Representative. In 2002, Joe became President and Business Manager of Local 19 and in August 2009, was elected the Eleventh General Vice President.
During his tenure he held the following positions and offices: President of the Pennsylvania State Council of Sheet Metal Workers, the New Jersey State Council of Sheet Metal Workers, the Mechanical Trades District Council of Delaware Valley, the Metropolitan Association of Presidents and Business Representatives, the Board of Directors for the National Energy Management Institute (NEMI);
Secretary/Treasurer of the Mechanical and Allied Crafts Council of New Jersey;
Vice-President of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, the Youth to Youth Market Development Council;
Executive Board Member of the Pennsylvania Building & Construction Trades Council and the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO; and a Member of the Pennsylvania State Apprentice and Training Council.
Joe learned about the labor movement at an early age. His values and foundation come from his father, Joe Sellers, Sr., his deep commitment to the Union Sheet Metal Industry as a member for 51 years and a Local 19 officer for 30 years.
About Lorretta Johnson
LORRETTA JOHNSON is the secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO. She was elected to the position by a unanimous vote of the AFT executive council in July 2011. Johnson was overwhelmingly re-elected in July 2012 at AFT’s bi-annual convention in Detroit, Michigan.
In October 2011, Johnson was elected treasurer of the AFT Educational Foundation and chair of the AFT Benefit Trust. Two months prior, she was elected as a vice president of the AFL-CIO—the federation representing 56 national and international unions, including the AFT. Johnson also serves on the board of directors of the Albert Shanker Institute, the AFL-CIO’s Union Privilege organization and the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department.
Before becoming AFT secretary-treasurer, Johnson was the union’s executive vice president (2008 to 2011). And she chaired the AFT Paraprofessionals and School-Related Personnel (PSRP) program and policy council from 1979 until October 2011. Prior to that, she was an AFT vice president for 30 years. Johnson also served as president of the Baltimore Teachers Union’s paraprofessional chapter for 35 years and as president of AFT-Maryland for 17 years.
Johnson started her career in 1966 as a teacher’s aide in a Baltimore elementary school, where she earned $2.25 an hour and received no benefits. To improve the work situation of paraprofessionals like herself, she organized them into the Baltimore Teachers Union. In 1970, she negotiated the union’s first contract, highlighted by its grievance procedure. That experience laid the foundation for Johnson’s union activism. Her efforts have helped the BTU become a lobbying and political force in City Hall, the Baltimore community and the Maryland state Legislature. Over the years, she also served as chief negotiator for teacher and paraprofessional contracts.
Johnson holds several leadership positions outside the AFT. She is vice president of the Metropolitan Baltimore Council, AFL-CIO; is a trustee for the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO; and serves on the board of directors of the Municipal Employees Credit Union in Baltimore. In August 2008, Johnson was named treasurer of the national board of the A. Philip Randolph Institute and is president of APRI’s Baltimore chapter. She also is the assistant treasurer for the Baltimore County chapter of the NAACP. Most recently, Johnson was elected to the board of directors of the BlueGreen Alliance; Union Privilege and Union Label & Service Trades Department, both of which affiliate with the AFL-CIO; Citizens for Tax Justice; the Child Labor Coalition, which she co-chairs; the Faith & Politics Institute; and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a think tank that focuses primarily on domestic women’s issues. She also serves on the American Income Life Labor Advisory Board.
Johnson’s political activism led to her being honored as 2005 Labor Leader of the Year by the Maryland Democratic Party. Ebony magazine also featured her in an article titled “Blacks of Influence in Unions.”
Johnson received her teaching degree through the Career Opportunities Program at Coppin State University in Maryland. She has received numerous awards, including an honorary doctoral degree from Coppin State, a community service award from the United Way, and a volunteer service award from the Maryland State AFL-CIO. Johnson also has received the Albert Shanker PSRP Pioneer Award, and the Service Award from the Baltimore Teachers Union’s paraprofessional chapter.
Johnson is the proud mother of three children, whom she raised with her late husband,
Leonard. She has seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
About Nicole Rhine
Nicole R. Rhine was elected NALC secretary-treasurer by acclamation in 2014 during the union’s 69th Biennial NALC Convention in Philadelphia.
Rhine, a member of Lincoln, NE Branch 8, became a member of the NALC as soon as she joined the letter carrier craft, attending branch meetings and state conventions regularly.
“I couldn’t wait to become a member of the union,” she said. “I learned at an early age what unions stood for and could accomplish because my mother worked at a packing plant and belonged.”
At the branch level, Rhine served stints as assistant steward and steward. She was elected branch secretary in 1998, a role she held until her election as branch president in 2004. For three years starting in 1998, Rhine was also the Nebraska State Association of Letter Carriers’ legislative representative, until her election as state association president in 2001.
Rhine was a St. Louis Region 5 arbitration advocate from 1999 to 2006. In 2006, she was appointed as a regional administrative assistant (RAA) by NALC President William H. Young to fill a vacancy. Then, in 2009, NALC President Fredric V. Rolando appointed her national assistant secretary-treasurer to fill a vacancy. That appointment was affirmed in 2010 when Rhine was elected assistant secretary-treasurer in 2010 during the 67th Biennial Convention in Anaheim.
“It was my desire to educate letter carriers of their rights and to defend them when those rights were violated that inspired me to assume my other union roles over the years,” she said. “I am excited about the opportunity to serve the membership as a whole after being able to do so previously at the local, state and regional level.”
Rhine holds a journalism degree from the University of Kansas.
About James Wood
James B. Wood has been a member of the International Alliance of the Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, its Territories and Canada, AFL-CIO, CLC since September 1979, first joining the Motion Picture Studio Production Local 873 as a grip and then the International Cinematographers Guild Local 667. Mr. Wood is a second-generation member of the Alliance.
Prior to joining the International on a full-time basis, Mr. Wood served as the Business Agent for IATSE Local 873 in Toronto and was returned to office in eleven consecutive elections. Mr. Wood continues to hold the distinction of being the longest-serving elected officer in the history of the Local.
In 1995, Mr. Wood was elected as Eleventh International Vice President, becoming the youngest Vice President in the history of the Alliance. Mr. Wood was twice re-elected at International Conventions in 1998 and in 2001, and was appointed Director of Canadian Affairs in 1999.
During their 2002 mid-Summer meeting, the General Executive Board unanimously elected Mr. Wood to fill the vacated position of General Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. Mr. Wood continues to serve as General Secretary-Treasurer, having been elected, unopposed, at the International’s 66th Quadrennial Convention held in Orlando, Florida in July 2009, and again re-elected unopposed at the 67th Quadrennial Convention held in Boston the week of July 22-26, 2013.
Mr. Wood serves as a Labor Trustee for the IATSE National Benefit Funds (comprised of pension, health, welfare, annuity and vacation). Wood also serves as the co-chair of the Administrative and Finance Committees of the Funds.
Mr. Wood graduated from York University in 1985 with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He and his wife Heather are the proud parents of two daughters, Kate and Alexandra.
About Dora Cervantes
Dora Cervantes became the IAM’s 12th General Secretary-Treasurer on August 1, 2015. She is the first woman to direct the IAM’s finances as General Secretary-Treasurer.
Cervantes first joined the IAM Executive Council on July 1, 2013 as the first Hispanic woman to serve as a General Vice President. Cervantes has served as the Assistant Secretary to the General Secretary-Treasurer since 2012. As General Vice President, Cervantes worked in partnership with the General Secretary-Treasurer to administer the IAM’s financial operations.
Cervantes initiated into IAM Local 2198 in Houston, Texas in 1989 as a Reservations Agent for Southwest Airlines. She served in many capacities for her Local Lodge, including Organizer, Shop Steward, Recording Secretary and Vice President.
In 1999, Cervantes was chosen to serve as an Apprentice Organizer for Airline District 142, and became a General Chairperson for that District the following year. By appointment from International President Tom Buffenbarger, she served on the IAM’s 2002 Blue Ribbon Commission.
In 2005, Cervantes was appointed to the Grand Lodge staff in the Transportation Department as a Special Representative, and was later promoted to Grand Lodge Representative. It was in July of 2012 when Cervantes was selected by General Secretary-Treasurer Robert Roach, Jr. to serve as Assistant Secretary to the GST.
Cervantes currently serves as a National Board Member on the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), is an active member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) and serves on the Women’s Committee of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) headquartered in London.
Fluent in English and Spanish, Cervantes helps teach the Spanish Leadership series at the William W. Winpisinger Education Center and the IAM/Aviation High School Partnership Program. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Labor Studies from the National Labor College.
About Salvatore J. Chilia
A former business manager of Cleveland, Ohio, Local 38 and Third District IEC member, Chilia has served as Fourth District International Vice President since replacing Paul Witte in 2007.
Initiated into Local 38 in 1967, Chilia graduated from his inside wireman apprenticeship in 1971, working for various electrical contractors until 1989. He was elected to his local’s examining board in 1977 and its executive board in 1980.
After serving as chairman of all of his local’s pension and benefit funds, Chilia was elected business manager in 1997. In 2001, he was elected to serve on the International Executive Council.
Brother Chilia instituted his local union’s 401(k) plan and full retirement at age 55. He is a leader in negotiating project labor agreements, including those covering construction of the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians stadiums and the Cleveland Clinic.
Chilia’s civic and labor activism earned him a place in Leadership Cleveland’s Class of 2001, which brings together recognized leaders from the private, nonprofit and government sectors for seminars on the challenges and dilemmas facing the region.
A vice president of the Cleveland AFL-CIO,Brother Chilia has also served as treasurer and board member of the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades.
About Steve Bertelli
Steve Bertelli was elected BCTGM International Secretary-Treasurer at the General Executive Board (GEB) meeting on September 22, 2012.
Bertelli was elected as Third Region Vice President by the GEB on January 1, 2008. He was reelected to serve as an International Vice President at the BCTGM’s 38th Constitutional Convention in 2010.
Bertelli was named a Third Region International Representative in June 1991. He began his union career in 1986 as a shift leader at Mel-O-Cream International and a member of BC&T Local 316 (Decatur, Ill.). He served as the local’s business agent and financial secretary from 1990-1991.
About Edward A. Kelly
Edward A. Kelly is the 11th General Secretary-Treasurer in IAFF history, elected in 2016 at the IAFF 53rd Convention.
The son, grandson, brother, nephew and cousin of fire fighters, Kelly joined the Boston Fire Department as a fire fighter/EMT in 1997, where he was assigned to the Technical Rescue team that assisted Worcester Local 1009 at the Cold Storage Warehouse fire in 1999. Kelly was among the hundreds of fire fighters at Ground Zero after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, and also responded to the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
Kelly rapidly climbed the ranks of organized labor and is known and respected for his dedication to the fire service and labor movement. He served as president of Boston, MA Local 718 in one of the most contentious times in the local’s history, engaging in a bitter duel with then-Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino over the local’s contract. He went on to become president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts in 2011, a post he held until his election as General Secretary-Treasurer.
A graduate of the Harvard Trade Union Program class of 2015, he was named Labor Leader of the Year by the Greater Boston Labor Council. Kelly was appointed by the governor of Massachusetts to serve as a commissioner at the Department of Fire Services, as well as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission, one of the largest health care purchasers in the Northeast, and was elected Executive Vice President for Public Sector of the Massachusetts AFL–CIO.
In addition, he serves as chairman of the Board of Directors for Florian CARES, a fire-based non-profit dedicated to community health, and as trustee for the Boston Fire Department Charitable Association, first established in 1828 to ensure proper burial for indigent fire fighters and which now assists widows and widowers of fire fighters of modest means.
As part of Kelly’s charitable efforts, he is a co-founder and member of the Board of Directors for Massachusetts Iraq and Afghanistan Fallen Heroes and provides support for children diagnosed with pediatric cancer through The Cure It Foundation.
Before becoming a Boston fire fighter, Kelly attended the Department of Defense Fire Academy and from 1994 to 1997 served in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida, where he worked as part of the crash and rescue crew.
Bernie Evers, Vice President
About Bernie Evers
Bernard “Bernie” Evers Jr. of Local 15 (Hartford, Conn.) has been a dedicated and loyal ironworker in the field and as an officer. A Boston native, Bernie began his membership in 1981 in Local 7 (Boston) and gained journeyman status in 1984. He served Local 7 as vice president, president and business agent/organizer. Throughout his career, Bernie has been a tireless advocate for workers, not only in the Iron Workers Union, but in the open shops as well. Bernie became a general organizer in 2000, and later that year was appointed the executive director of organizing. He developed the A.C.E.S. (Analyzing Construction Employers Strategically) course, where local union officers receive training in strategic organizing. As an organizer, he developed programs to meet the needs of a changing industry. These programs resulted in organizing campaigns that helped workers unionize open shop contractors and provided thousands of unrepresented workers with the opportunity to join the union. In July 2012, Bernie was appointed as the chief of staff/executive assistant to the general president. Bernie continues to serve as executive director of organizing. Chief of Staff/Executive Assistant Bernie Evers was appointed general vice president, effective September 30, 2013. General President Eric Dean appointed Bernie Evers general treasurer effective July 1, 2015.
News from the Union Label and Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Labor Day falls on September 4, 2017, this year, and is also the day in history when the United States got its nickname Uncle Sam. “Uncle Sam” is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied barrels of beef to the United States Army during...
The Missouri AFL-CIO and a coalition of local unions called “Preserve Middle Class America” are looking to gather enough signatures to place Missouri’s recently passed “right-to-work” to work law on the ballot in November 2018. The coalition wants to give voters the...
The Union Label and Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO, is in the process of building a new App for iPhone and Android devices to help union members and conscientious consumers find union-made products and services. In addition to offering a database of products, the...