Anthony G. Speelman - President

Tony Speelman 2016

The Local 1500 Executive Board unanimously elected Tony Speelman President on May 11, 2016. He is the seventh president of New York’s largest grocery workers union, UFCW Local 1500.

Speelman began his career working part-time for Dairy Barn stores on Long Island while attending college in the 1970’s. He quickly became an instrumental part of the UFCW Local 1500 membership, fighting for better wages and benefits for his coworkers and their families. At a young age, he served on three contract negotiation teams, leading to win contracts with better wages, benefits and hours for his coworkers. Speelman then joined the UFCW Local 1500 staff in 1986, serving in every union department before becoming Secretary-Treasurer in 2009. 

Tony has fought for decades to help working men and women attain better lives at work and at home with their families. He has long held irresponsible corporations accountable throughout the New York tri-state region, fighting for better rights and wages for Walmart and Target workers. He has repeatedly fought to raise the standards for all workers because he deeply believes all men and women deserve the right to improve their lives.

"It’s because of our passion and love for the men and women in this union that we’re here today. We couldn’t be more proud and honored to lead Local 1500 to become bigger and better."

Follow your union president on twitter @aspeel1500

Prior Positions:

Tony’s affiliation to Local 1500 began while he was still attending college and working as a part-timer at a Long Island staple for decades, Dairy Barn.  Dairy Barn was a small chain of drive up milk stores located all over Long Island.  Tony proved himself to be a reliable employee and quickly rose through the ranks at his new employer.  His dedication led to him becoming a night manager, a day manager and also was elected by his peers to represent them on the negotiating committee at the young age of 23.  Tony was an instrumental part of the membership negotiating committee 3 times during his career at Dairy Barn and was responsible for negotiating successful contracts for both his family and the families of the more than 700 coworkers back in the stores. 

He first joined UFCW Local 1500 as a Vice President/Executive Board member in 1979.  In 1986 he began working as a staff organizer and once again steadily worked his way up through the ranks.  In 1989 he was made a Union Delegate and assigned to work in Upstate, NY covering the membership in upper Westchester and Dutchess Counties.  Throughout his years as a delegate Tony serviced the areas of Upstate New York, Brooklyn, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.  After proving himself a very valuable asset to the Executive Officers of the Union in 1991 Tony was promoted to be the Union’s Political Director.  During his years as Political Director he successfully increased the Union’s political fundraising by over 30% and established voter registration and ABC signup programs that lead to over 80% of the union’s active membership being involved in the political process. Tony was then promoted to the position of Field Director.  In May of 2003 he became the Assistant to the President and then in mid-2005 he was appointed to the role of Executive Vice President.

In November 2009 Tony was elected Secretary Treasurer of Local 1500.  As Secretary-Treasurer, Tony worked hard and established a proven management track record and puts his 20+ years of experience in bargaining and labor relations to use every day. Local 1500 benefited enormously under Tony’s passionate leadership, not only professionally but morally as well.  With Tony pushing the envelope, Local 1500 increased its charitable fundraising efforts every year, including a few years with increases of over 20% from the previous year.

Community Service & Honors:

In February 2016, Tony accepted the role of chair of the Long Island Leukemia Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk. As chair Tony will lead fundraising efforts across Long Island to help battle blood cancer. Tony is also very passionate about his community; while serving on the UFCW Local 1500 Scholarship Board, he doubled the amount of scholarships awarded to Local 1500 members. He also began chairing bi-annual community Blood Drives that have lead to over 1,200 New Yorker's in need receiving emergency blood transfusions since 2014. Tony serves on the Union’s Executive Board and is also a Trustee on the Union’s Pension and Welfare funds. He sits on the North Shore LIJ Health System OEMLI Advisory Board, on the Town of Babylon Labor Advisory Board and is a proud member of the NAACP.

More about UFCW Local 1500: The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 is the largest grocery retail union in New York with over 20,000 members working in grocery stores, pharmacies, and other industry jobs. The union is committed to building a powerful coalition of community members and workers that fight for economic, political, and social justice in our workplaces and communities.

Follow Tony @aspeel1500


Recent Posts by Anthony Speelman

September 2016: Don't Let Hate Fuel Your Vote

June 2016: This is Your Union

March 2016: Our 2016 Challenges

December 2015: Our New Union

September 2015: Greedy Companies vs Hard Working Men & Women

June 2015: A Step in the Right Direction

March 2015: New Era Negotiating

December 2014: 9k Stop & Shop Workers Stand Together

September 2014: Labor Day...Every Day

June 2014: NCAA Union Vote Opens Eyes

March 2014: We Must All Believe

December 2013: Winning, Together!

September 2013: Building a Progressive UFCW

July 2013: Unity is the Answer

March 2013:  Put the Politics Away