These pages are meant to honor a man that has dedicated his life to bettering the working conditions and benefits for families all over the Tri-State area, my President, Anthony G. Speelman. Anthony, or Tony, as almost everyone but his Italian mother called him, is a real gentleman. Tony is a man whose shear presence can bring a smile to an entire room, whose singing makes most people want to cry, who routinely plays the dashboard drums, whose hand is always reaching out to help someone in need, but most importantly someone that is, and will continue to be honored and respected by the Labor Movement as a whole for years to come.
For over 34 years, and in almost every position at the Local, Tony represented our members and our Union the only way he knew how, with honor and grace. Honor and grace maybe, but not always with the best style! C’mon look at some of the pictures on this page and tell me you weren’t thinking the same thing! Another trait we will always remember about Tony is how much he loves to laugh and how when he starts laughing it is virtually impossible for you not to start too. I have never met a man so comfortable with who he is that he can laugh at himself just as easily as he can at others. He is a ridiculously humble person, especially for a Labor Leader.
Tony is a husband to Beverly, grandfather of 2, a father of 2, a sibling to 3, a confidant to hundreds, but a brother to tens of thousands. Tony is the guy that always manages to ask the question that nobody else did, but all should have. He’s the person who sits there whistling out loud (terribly) and figures out the issue that dozens of other people have been trying to figure out for days. Some things just come naturally to Tony. Other things, like dancing, not so much! Yikes!
Tony has been a member, a negotiating committee member (both rank and file and staff) , an Executive Board VP (both rank and file and staff) an Organizer, a Union Rep, the Political Director, a Field Director, the Assistant to the President, the EVP, a Trustee, the Plan Manager, the Secretary-Treasurer, the Senior Advisor to the President (most recently) and our President. To say he has been around the block a few times is an understatement. He learned his craft from many Union delegates of the past, and of course, from his mentor and friend, former President Frank Meehan. Tony worked his ass off every day for Frank and never complained about it. Thankfully on his retirement date there is proudly a lot less of Tony than there was for most of his career. You look great brother, keep it up!
Tony is dedicated, loyal, trustworthy, tireless, and reliable. His word is his bond, even though he occasionally tells little white lies to try and protect someone’s feelings or prevent an unnecessary argument. I am so proud to have worked with and for Tony for more than 25 years. Tony’s relationships in all aspects of the political arena, and the Labor Movement are second to none and he has left behind some very difficult shoes to fill, and his decisions will continue to shape our Union for many years.
On behalf of the members and staff of UFCW Local 1500 we want to wish our brother Tony Speelman nothing but the best in retirement. We hope that you have years of fun watching your grandchildren grow and that you don’t drive Beverly too crazy. Thank you for your years of service, for all that you did for us, for all the lives you positively influenced, and for believing in people. We hope that you have nothing but good luck, God’s continued blessings, and that you live a long and healthy retirement life, because you deserve it! We love you Tony, enjoy your retirement and don’t be a stranger!