Ron Banka started as a meat cutter while a senior in high school in Sandpoint, Idaho. He moved to Alaska and became a member of the Retail Clerks Union in Anchorage, Alaska in 1975. He moved back to the Northwest and joined the Amalgamated Meat Cutters Union in 1976. He went to work for Safeway as a meat-cutter/manager 1976-1994. In June 1994, he was hired by our Local as a Union Representative. He has volunteered for union contract negotiations meetings since 1984. He was a Executive Board Officer as a Recorder for three terms. Since 1994, he has been a Health and Welfare Trustee, Pension Trustee.
Eric Renner first became a member of Local 1439 as a courtesy clerk working for Safeway in 1985. He then moved to Albertsons in 1987 where he became a Grocery Clerk and Checker until coming to work for the Local in 2001. Prior to coming to work for the Local Eric was involved in promoting fairness in the workplace on a variety of levels as well as working toward his degree which he attained in 2002 from Eastern Washington University. He started at the Local as Representative Assistant, then Representative, Executive Assistant and now Secretary-Treasurer where his duties include; contract negotiations, Health & Welfare Trustee, Retirement Plan Trustee and assisting the President in all administrative aspects of the Local Union. Eric has had many years of on the job training as well as education to help our members secure a living wage, affordable healthcare insurance, pension benefits and dignity in the workplace. Coming from a Union family with strong Union values Eric understands the importance of the labor movement to which he has dedicated his career.
Scott Habenicht originally grew up near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, an area rich with Union history and attended the University of Pittsburgh where he received a double major in Communications and Political Science. Scott began working for Local 1439 as a Grievance Officer in May 2007 while attending the Gonzaga University School of Law. He has since graduated, earning his J.D. in May 2009, and began working as the Grievance Director for the Local. In September 2009, Scott was hired as the Local 1439’s in-house counsel and now handles grievances and arbitrations for the Union among other duties.
Carrie Brookshire started as a Union Representative in year 2013. Prior to her current position she worked for Albertsons for 12 years. Carrie was a wonderful Shop Steward for many years and now carries over her helpfulness and as well as her spunk to serve Local 1439 members in the Yakima area.
Vicky Allison is your Union Representative for Tri-Cities, Walla Walla/Milton-Freewater, and Eastern Oregon areas. Vicky has been a member of UFCW 1439 since 1976. Thirty five of those years were spent at Safeway Stores. Vicky is involved with the South Eastern Washington Central Labor Council and comes from a very strong Union family.
Peggy Vines is your Union Representative for the upper Central Washington area. Peggy has been a member of Local 1439 since 1988. Fifteen of those years was at Top Foods Grocery in East Wenatchee. In 1999, Peggy became a Shop Steward and not long after that she was elected to our Executive Board. She is involved in the Wenatchee community as a board member of the Work Force Development Council and the Citizens Alliance of Wenatchee. She is one of the original members of the Wenatchee area Eastern Washington Center of Occupational Health and Education advisory committee.
Rick Chase has been a member of our Local since 1978. All of those years are with one employer, Albertsons. Prior to 1978, Rick was a member of UFCW in California. His long standing career in the grocery industry along with his involvement in our Spokane community will bring to our Local a wealth of connections and experiences in the Spokane Labor movement.
Pedro (Pete) Nunez Jr. is the Union Representative for Washington Beef, Inc. He worked 12 years at Washington Beef, Inc. prior to joining UFCW Local 1439. He currently serves on our Executive Board and has for many years. He joined UFCW Local 1439 as Union Representative in 2010.
Sandra Huggins has rejoined the staff at Local 1439 in May 2003 as the Benefits Director. She has been a member of UFCW Local 1439 since 1982. Sandra has worked as a medical claims processor for two third-party-administrators over the last 21 years. Her work history includes working with numerous Trust Funds in all aspects of health insurance. Sandra understands the frustration that workers are facing with the current health care situation. Currently she is one of four Labor Trustees on our UFCW Trust.
Dana King is our Bookkeeper and Office Lead. Dana returned to our staff in April of 2002. She is responsible for the accounting procedures and bookkeeping for the Local. She also leads our membership service department. Dana assists the new and current members with dues related issues and points them in the right direction with any work issues they may have.
Karen Gude began her union affiliation in the early 1980’s when she was an employee for Pay Less Drug Stores. Karen was involved in the Pay Less strike and was permanently replaced due to her union activity. Without the union wages and benefits she would have really struggled trying to make ends meet while attending Eastern Washington University. After graduating from EWU and a career in sales and marketing, Karen later became connected with Local 1439 in 1999 and now has served our members with workers’ comp issues, medical and pension questions membership services and now maintains the facilities and communications for Local 1439. Since 2007 she is one of four labor stakeholders advising the Workers' Compensation Advisory Committee for the Department of Labor and Industries in Washington State. Prior to 2007 to present she serves on the Regional Business and Labor Advisory Board Center of Occupational Health and Education (COHE). Her many years as a Union member and as an employee of UFCW 1439 have proven her strong commitment to both the labor movement and UFCW 1439.
Leslie Cowin works in the front office as our receptionist and in Membership Services. Leslie goes above and beyond to make sure members get the assistance they need and does so with a smile everyday. Leslie loves spending time with her family and helping with Sunday School and AWANA at church as well. Also, she usually has candy.
Desirae Banka works in the front office in Membership Services and assists with accounting, including the set up of payroll deduction of dues for our members.