President String Retires: “It’s Been an Honor to Serve Local 152 Members”

As seen in the Unity: Winter 2024 – President’s Report. See past copies of the Unity here.


It’s been an honor to serve Local 152 members.

April 1 of this year will mark 39 years since I started working for the UFCW. On that day I will retire and turn over leadership of Local 152 to the capable hands of Dan Ross, Jr.

It’s been my life’s passion to be a part of the labor movement, to do whatever I can to serve union and non-union workers, and to fight for what they deserve.

After working in various grocery stores, I started my career as a union organizer standing alongside workers in Atlantic City and California who were fighting to join a union. Helping these workers unionize and reap the rewards of a union contract was among my proudest moments.

It wasn’t an easy job, but it prepared me for what was to come, because fighting for the rights of working people has become harder than ever. The deck is stacked against union organizers. There are no easy targets today — it’s a dogfight every time.

But adversity never stopped me from doing what I knew was right. When I was chosen to lead the newly formed UFCW Local 152 in 2005, I knew we had the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of workers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware.

We accomplished that goal by remaining steadfast in our commitment to organizing. It’s the lifeblood of this union. We organize new members because a union contract means hard work is respected and members can perform their jobs with dignity.

As hard as we work to organize new members, we work just as hard to provide excellent service for our existing members. When I gathered with my staff and more than 100 stewards last year to plan for the future, I asked them, “Do you want to be an asset for this union? If you do, you will need to give of yourself. If you don’t give a personal commitment to each member and become involved emotionally with their lives, then it’s not the level of service Local 152 strives to provide.”

When I talk about these expectations, they’re not just empty words. I lived the values that I preach. I know those values will carry forward to future generations of this union’s leadership.

It’s been an honor to serve this union’s members and their families for two decades. My message upon retirement is: Remain strong, remain together, and the accomplishments of the Labor Movement will remain strong for generations to come.

— President Brian String