United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union
Doug Dority took the helm of America’s Agenda in 2004 to concentrate his attention toward solving what he terms “one of the most serious domestic issues confronting our country.” Under Doug’s leadership, America’s Agenda has evolved from an idea into an organization earning national respect for its contributions toward building bipartisan alliances between business and labor that are needed to solve America’s health care crisis.
Before becoming President of America’s Agenda, Doug was International President of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), a union whose members have been in the forefront of the battle to protect health benefits on the job.
In the winter of 2003-04, thousands of grocery workers were embroiled in bitter strikes in California, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, holding the line for workers across the nation whose health benefits were under attack. Doug didn’t blame the employers—he blamed the system. “No one union, no one company, has a solution for the health care crisis,” he said. “It has to be a national political solution, spearheaded by the states.”
In March 2004 after workers returned to their jobs, their health benefits intact, Doug announced his resignation from UFCW “to devote my energies to a new effort to convince our political leaders that health care for all Americans is long overdue.”
Doug dedicated 43 years of his life to the UFCW, its members., and the American labor movement. He began his union service as a retail clerk and rank-and-file organizer at a grocery store in Virginia, where he successfully organized his own store, as well as ten others in the chain.
He brought a grassroots organizing spirit to every position that he held in the union. In an era of union busters, Doug distinguished himself as a union builder. As Organizing Director during the Reagan era, he launched a decade of unsurpassed organizing success for the UFCW with an average of 85,000 newly organized members a year.
As International President, Doug put in place aggressive programs to energize local union political activism, just in time for his union to play a prominent role in Bill Clinton’s two presidential campaigns. He was actively committed to diversity throughout the UFCW and led the way in creating new leadership opportunities for the union’s large and diverse membership of women, African American, Latino and new immigrant workers.
Throughout his career, Doug has been a leader in the fight to bring health and pension benefits to all workers. His leadership at America’s Agenda continues Doug’s decades long commitment to national health care reform that would guarantee health coverage for all Americans.