New Union President Elected for NY’s Largest Grocery Union

Tony Speelman & Rob Newell Elected President & Secretary-Treasurer

WESTBURY, NY (05/13/2016)(readMedia)– Tony Speelman, a committed labor leader who has dedicated nearly four decades of fighting for hard working men and women, was unanimously elected President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 (UFCW). UFCW Local 1500 represents over 20,000 grocery workers from the East end of Long Island to upstate New York in Poughkeepsie. Robert Newell, who began his career in 1990 pushing shopping carts at Pathmark, was unanimously elected Secretary-Treasurer.

Speelman succeeds retired UFCW Local 1500 President Bruce W. Both. Both served as President of UFCW Local 1500 since 2004.

“I am honored to represent the proud men and women of UFCW Local 1500, a union I first became a member of when I was 17 years old, ” Speelman said. Speelman began his career as a Local 1500 member as a part-timer at Dairy Barn on Long Island, and has fought for decades to help working men and women attain better lives at work and at home with their families. 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.

Robert Newell began his career in 1990 working as a part-time shopping cart attendant for Pathmark in Bayshore, NY. Newell was instrumental in working to organize Wild by Nature, an organic chain of stores throughout Long Island in the 1990’s. Prior to becoming Secretary-Treasurer, Newell was previously Assistant to the President of UFCW Local 1500.”I want this union to become an even greater and stronger union for the decades ahead,” Newell said.

“We will work together to provide a better life for all Local 1500 members, to provide better benefits, and safer working conditions,” Speelman said. “We will make it a priority to secure better part-time scheduling, so our members can better balance a family life.”

“It’s a neat story,” Speelman explained, “I started as a part-timer working nights, Rob started pushing carts as a teenager. 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.”

The Local 1500 Executive Board unanimously elected Speelman and Newell on May 11, 2016. He becomes the seventh president of New York’s largest grocery workers union.

For Tony Speelman’s full bio click here.

For Rob Newell’s full bio click here.

Join the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1500 at

We are over 20,000 men and women working in grocery stores standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family in New York deserves.

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