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Our Leadership

Lynne Fox

President

Lynne Fox currently serves as the International President of Workers United and the Manager of the Philadelphia Joint Board for Workers United, managing and overseeing 80,000 members in the US and Canada. Fox also serves as the Chair of the Board for Amalgamated Bank. Ms. Fox has been the manager for Workers United in Philadelphia for over 15 years. As a Philadelphia native born and raised in the labor movement, Fox has committed her life’s work to fighting for justice and fairness for all people. Fox has deep ties to the Philadelphia community, where among other things, she serves as president of the Philadelphia Jewish Labor Committee, vice president on the Philadelphia AFL-CIO Council and on the board of the Philadelphia Airport Advisory Board. Fox received her B.S. from Pennsylvania State University and her J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law, where she was on Law Review and was published; and Temple University School of Law. She is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor.

Edgar Romney

Secretary-Treasurer

Edgar Romney has spent his career fighting for workers rights in the labor movement. He joined the former International Ladies Garment Workers Union in 1962 as a shipping clerk, and was an active shop steward. He later became an Organizer and Business Agent with ILGWU and, in 1976, was asked to serve as Director of Organization for the largest ILGWU affiliate B Local 23-25. For many years Edgar has been involved in International Trade Union work for social and economic justice for apparel and textile workers around the world.  He has been a leader in the fight Against Global Sweat Shops.  He has served as a member of the Executive Committee and a member of the Presidium of the International Textile Garment & Leather Workers Federation. He is also a member of IndustriALL, a global union federation representing 60 million workers around the world.

Barry Fowlie

Executive Vice President

Barry Fowlie entered the ranks of the working class at age 8 as a newspaper delivery boy and delivering milk for Victoria Dairy by horse wagon. The horse's name was June. Barry left high school and worked at a number of jobs becoming a member of Teamsters, International Paperworker's Union, Rubber Workers, Graphic Arts International Union and finally with Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers, UNITE, UNITE HERE and Workers United.

Barry has a long history as a Health and Safety/Workers Comp rep. He is an injured worker with 3 permanent impairments. In 2002 Barry became Unite's Canadian Education Director and developed many tool box courses to enable our members to fight back against employers. In 2011 Barry was elected Workers United Canadian Director and was acclaimed again in 2016.

David Melman

Executive Vice President

David Melman is the Manager of the Pennsylvania Joint Board and Executive Vice President of Workers United.  He has more than 30 years’ experience as a Labor Union Leader starting as Executive Assistant to the President of the national Union (first ILGWU, then UNITE) and for the last 20 years as the elected leader of the Pennsylvania Joint Board.  David has extensive experience and expertise in labor negotiations in a wide variety of industries, including apparel production, distribution centers, manufacturing, health insurance, food service, hotels, municipal employees, and food service in stadiums, K-12 schools and higher education.  As part of his work, David has developed an expertise in the negotiating and administering of pension and health insurance benefits. He is also a trustee of the Taft Hartley Pension and Health Insurance Funds which manages large assets and provides benefits to tens of thousands of participants.  He has many years of experience working with Labor Unions and progressive partners in National, State, and Local political and mobilization campaigns and has helped lead organizing campaigns to bring thousands of workers into the Union.  He is one of the Workers United leaders representing our Union in the global federation of Industrial Unions, (IndustriALL) and has worked on numerous Global Solidarity campaigns to advance the cause of working people across the world.

Alberto Arroyo

Vice President

Alberto Arroyo was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

He has been with the union for more than 24 years. Alberto began as a Steward in one of the shops of the Laundry, Dry Cleaning and Allied Workers Joint Board of UNITE, and rose through the organization to become Secretary Treasurer in 2000.

When the Laundry Workers Joint Board and the Distribution Joint Boards merged in 2010 to become the Laundry Distribution and Food Service Joint Board of Workers United, Alberto became the Secretary Treasurer of the merged Joint Boards.

In 2016, Alberto was elected co-Manager of the Laundry Distribution and Food Service Joint Board of Workers United, and was elected Vice President of Workers United in 2017.

Alberto sits on the Board of Trustees of the Laundry, Dry Cleaning Workers and Allied Industries Health Fund, Retirement Fund, and Education and Legal Assistance Fund. He is also the chairperson of Local 99 Health and Welfare Fund.

Alberto believes that being able to represent our members is an honor and sees strengthening our Union as an every day goal.

Chris Baumann

Vice President

Chris Baumann has been working with the Southern Region since 2006.  Over his career, Chris has been an organizer around environmental issues, public education, civil rights, and labor.  He started as a organizer with the UNC Housekeepers Association in NC, a statewide organization of housekeepers that worked on the 16 campuses of the University of North Carolina system. After five years of direct action and a class action racial discrimination suit, the UNC Administration signed an agreement with pay increases, job training, and other workplace improvements.  He worked as a community organizer in NC for 10 years with the Industrial Areas Foundation where he helped to build broad-based organizations of congregations, unions, and association to work to improve neighborhoods, public schools, and the creation of living wage jobs.  Key victories from this work included over $1 Billion in bond funds used to ensure equity in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools after a major school audit conducted by the organization and the defeat of a referendum to build the Charlotte Hornets a new stadium after the Mayor vetoed a living wage ordinance.  Chris also worked as the Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Educators that had almost 30,000 teachers and education support personnel as members.  Under his leadership, GAE led a coalition and raised $5 million to defeat the GA Governors Referendum to give them state the ability to take over local public schools.  The referendum was overwhelming defeated.

Chris lives with his wife Erika, and they're two sons, JR and Caleb, in Atlanta, GA.

Gary Bonadonna Jr.

Vice President

Gary Bonadonna serves on the boards of Excellus Rochester Regional Advisory, Rochester Economic Development Corporation (REDCO), American Heart Association, Sidney Hillman Foundation, Rochester Labor Council, and Rochester Regional Joint Board Fund for the Future.  He also serves on the Chatman Scholarship Selection Committee.

He is the President of the Sidney Hillman Health Center, the Executive Vice-President of the Rochester and Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation, and a Trustee of the National Retirement Fund (a multi-employer pension plan).

Mr. Bonadonna earned a Bachelor of Arts in both Political Science and English from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Clayola Brown

Vice President

Ms. Brown’s lifelong commitment to labor activism began in her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, where she—alongside her activist mother—campaigned to organize the Manhattan Shirt Factory.  She eventually became Education Director for the newly merged Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union; was appointed Civil Rights Director and served as Manager for the Laundry Division affiliate for more than 13 years.  In 1991, under UNITE! She was elected International Vice President and continues to serve in that capacity and as Civil Rights Director under Workers United.

Christopher Duarte

Vice President

Christopher Duarte was elected president of Workers United Local 50 in May of 2015. Standing up for people is not something new for Chris, as a military veteran he deployed with the Army’s 42nd Infantry Division Support Command in 2005 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a communication Sergeant during deployment he received 2 Army Commendation Medals for exceptional meritorious service. Christopher’s goals as leader of Local 50 include developing a new Union for his members. During the first 2 years of his presidency the Local has created programs that benefit the members outside of the workplace, the newest such program being the creation of a scholarship program that began in the fall of 2016. Christopher has also been critical for the development of a labor coalition inside the Disneyland resort.

Vasanthe Gunaratna

Vice President

Vasanthe Gunaratna oversees Locals 287, 178, and 1484 out of British Columbia, locals 208,286, 459, 1970 and 2740 out of Manitoba, Local 2768 out of Saskatchewan and locals 206 and 9998 out of Thunder Bay, Ontario. He also currently serves as the Special Assistant to the Canadian Director. Born in Sri Lanka, Vas immigrated to Canada in 1976 and became a member of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union in 1977 as an employee of Jantzen Canada. While at Jantzen, Vas was a shop steward, union activist, and President of Local 287. Vas joined the union staff as a union representative in British Columbia before his rise to assistant manager and now manager. Vas represented British Columbia with the BC Cricket team at the Interprovincial Tournament. In addition to cricket, Vas enjoys lake fishing, and NFL football, and roots for the Oakland Raiders.

Kathy Hanshew

Vice President

Naomi K Hanshew (Kathy) began her work as a member of an affiliated local of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union in Northeast Ohio in 1989. She was a Steward, Chief Steward and President of her affiliated local prior to becoming a Union Business Representative in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2005. She was promoted from Business Representative to Area Director which covered Central and Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. In 2012, Kathy moved to Chicago to become Chief of Staff, a position which she held for 3 years. In 2015 she became Assistant Manager of the Joint Board and in 2017 became Manager when her predecessor retired. In 2018, she was duly elected Manager of the Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board, which represents 12 states throughout the Midwest. In addition to her work as Manager of the Joint Board and as an International Vice President, Kathy also serves on numerous boards, which provide a range of benefits and services to the members of our union.

Jean Hervey

Vice President

Jean Hervey was elected as International Vice President of the Southwest Regional Joint Board in 1995 and has held that position since. Ms. Hervey’s lifelong commitment to labor, economic and social justice began with her work as an organizer in Arkansas.She became the Manager of the Arkansas District of Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, serving for 5 years and later became the Assistant Manager of the St. Louis District of ACTWU.  In St. Louis, Hervey was responsible for merging 10 local unions to bring about a more effective way to actively serve the membership by combining collective bargaining and financial resources for better representation. Ms. Hervey is a Trustee of the Union’s National Health and Pension Fund and Sidney Hillman Foundation. She also serves on numerous community and state boards and commissions in Arkansas. She holds leadership roles in the Coalition of Black Trade Unionist (CBTU), Coalition of Labor Union Women, NAACP, A Phillip Randolph Institute (APRI), National Pay Equity Foundation, National Black Women’s Conference, St. Jude Children Research Hospital, and   Advocate for Cervical Cancer & HPV Prevention Works.  

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Patrick Jones, Sr.

Vice President

Patrick Jones Sr. is an International Vice President of Workers United/SEIU and Director of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Joint Board.  Patrick became a Union member in November 1993 at Emporia Foundry in Emporia, VA, a "right to work" state, where he worked in an entry level utility position. At that time, the shop had low Union membership, only about 25%. In February 1994, Patrick was elected as President of Local Union 1622 where he created an internal organizing committee to increase membership in the shop. After three terms of fighting hard for his members, Union membership increased to 95%. In 1998, Patrick was elected to the Executive Board of the Mid-Atlantic Region of UNITE where he served as Sergeant-at-Arms. Patrick began working for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Joint Board in 2001 as a Joint Board Representative as part of the Laundry Team. In this position, he gained the experience of working through various obstacles amongst a diverse workforce. The valuable experience he gained by servicing shops, negotiating contracts across the Region, and being the Maryland and Delaware State Director provided the foundation and strengthened his commitment to continue the fight to build a strong Region for our members. Patrick's motto is “the strength of the Union is the members; and the strength of the members is the UNION."       

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Julie Kelly

Vice President

Julie Bracero Kelly has worked in unions for about thirty years. She grew up in a political, union-organizing family and “spent a good portion of time after school in trailers, licking stamps and stuffing envelopes,” she said.

 Bracero Kelly went to Boston University and was inspired by one of her professors, Howard Zinn, author of The People’s History of the United States.

After college, she got a job at an OPEIU local in Cambridge Massachusetts, where she was primarily doing administrative political work, but then started taking phone calls. She remembers the exhilaration as the union was making in people’s everyday lives.

 At that union, Bracero Kelly ended up being a rep and the Director of Organizing. Eventually, she wanted to come back to New York and got an opportunity to lead member leadership development programs and to organize. She went to work with UNITE and was the Assistant National Organizing Director.

Bracero Kelly then went to the Workers’ United New York New Jersey Joint Board and was ultimately elected Secretary Treasurer. She was later elected General Manager of the union, the position she holds now.

Richard Minter

Vice President

Richard Minter’s journey within the labor movement began shortly after he graduated from college while working in a vertically integrated textile factory in his hometown in rural Virginia. He and his coworkers fought for and won a historic union victory to be represented by the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU). It was in those early years as a member of the Southern Region of ACTWU, while serving as the local’s Chief Steward and Volunteer Organizer, where Richard had many defining moments which helped shape and mold him as a Union Leader.  From a professional career which began in a non-union textile mill, to his first role at the International Union’s headquarters in the Education Department, and now leading Workers United’s Organizing Department, Richard’s successes in the Union have been many. After more than 25 years, Richard is considered an expert negotiator and organizer. Richard takes pride in his ability to identify and recruit leaders while giving them the skills necessary to fight against corporate greed and bad boss behaviors.

Maria Rivera

Vice President

Maria Rivera is an International Vice President of Workers United/SEIU and Regional Manager, WSRJB Workers United-SEIU. In 1992, at the age of 23, Maria began volunteering at a garment worker center in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, teaching literacy classes to immigrant workers. As a recent immigrant herself from Nicaragua, she drew on her experience as an young activist in the Sandinistas’ historic literacy campaign. She was soon recruited as a union organizer with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. She ran strikes and organized garment workers in Brooklyn, Chinatown, and all around New York City. Maria even organized the sweater factory where her mother worked as a seamstress. Maria continued fighting for immigrant workers in California, Chicago, Boston, and many other cities, organizing garment workers sweatshops with UNITE!. In 2002, she moved her whole family to California’s Central Valley to transform a struggling local into an organized force of thousands of low-wage immigrant workers at industrial laundries, and later organizing workers at airports and hospitals with SEIU. After UNITE! became Workers United and joined forces with SEIU, members elected Maria to become the union’s California District Manager. Today, as the Regional Manager for the union’s Western States region, Maria leads 10,000 organized workers at laundries, distribution centers, and other workplaces throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. She lives in Fresno with her husband Alfonso and two beautiful daughters Camila and Paola.