Scott Eschenbrenner, a 32-year member employed at Dierbergs Marketplace, says he’s always been a solid Union supporter, but as the newest member of the Local 655 Executive Board, that’s changed.
“I’ve always been involved, but now I want to do more. I feel like being elected to the Executive Board has empowered me. Being the 17th Vice President on the Board presents me with opportunities to help our Union grow,” Eschenbrenner said. “The ‘Union Strong’ buttons are more important, the job is more important, the working conditions of my coworkers are more important. I feel like I can have a direct impact now.”
Eschenbrenner has served as a shop steward for eight years, on the Local 655 negotiation committee and has been a political volunteer for several years, knocking on doors everywhere from Ste. Genevieve, Missouri for local politicians to Philadelphia, PA where he pushed for President Obama in his 2008 election campaign.
“The best part of being in a union is to be a part of the union,” Eschenbrenner said. “A lot of people are in the Union and don’t realize they actually are a part of it. Members get help from our Union officials, but the best part is having your voice and opinions heard. That’s what I plan to push.”
Eschenbrenner says he wants to be “the agitator, the guy who corrects those crying about how the union doesn’t do anything.”
“A lot of my co-workers don’t even know what our Union does. So many of our members have been disconnected,” Eschenbrenner said. “They don’t realize the importance of attending Union Meetings to get things done. They don’t realize how much the Union can do for them. I say hey, call the Union reps; we are represented by knowledgeable officials. They’ll make sure your rights are protected.”
Eschenbrenner says members should realize that they have options and backers in the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 655 when there are problems on the job.
“There is someone on your side. It just takes an interest,” Eschenbrenner said. “I’ve been at this job 31 years. I didn’t even think of pension credits and Union benefits years ago. I tell members to check their pensions, call the Union’s Pension Department and learn about your benefits. Mostly, don’t just be in the Union, be part of your Union.”