By STASIA PORTER
Special to The Stand
EVERETT, Wash. (Oct. 19, 2023) — The Snohomish & Island County Labor Council (SICLC) hosted the second annual Champions Dinner on Oct. 10. It was a fun and music-filled night of solidarity at the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center in celebration of all Labor Champions. Eighteen local unions along with a myriad and diverse labor-friendly elected officials and community leaders were in attendance.
The dinner honors outstanding labor leaders and includes the presentation of the Mike Sells Labor Champion Award in honor of retired Washington State Representative Mike Sells. The award is given annually to a deserving recipient who has championed the cause of labor and public service. The nominee can be an individual or entity who advocates for working families and makes a positive impact in their community through leadership and service. This special trophy is handed to the current winner by last year’s winner, much like the Stanley Cup.
The keynote address was delivered by strong workers’ rights activist and keynote speaker State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Other guest speakers included U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, Tulalip Tribes Legislative Policy Analyst Charles Adkins, Megan Dunn of Snohomish County Council District 2, Paula Rhyne of Everett City Council District 2, and featured a performance by Nathe Lawver of the Pierce County Central Labor Council.
Gary Kanter and Greg Deer provided musical entertainment which featured songs of solidarity and Kanter’s famous dry wit during the silent auction. The auction featured more than 40 gift baskets generously donated from the attending unions to raise money for the SICLC Hardship Fund. These funds have been a lifeline to many of our labor families in support of their financial needs.
Two new awards have been added to the annual dinner: the Affiliate Labor Champion Award and the Michael Boe Delegate Labor Champion Award. This year’s recipients were the International Association of Machinists 751 (award accepted by IAM 751 Union Representative Wes Heard) and John Klosterman, retired grocery shop steward from Teamsters Local 38, who spends his retired time volunteering and giving back to the community. Well deserved, all!
The big honor of the evening went to John Traynor, Legislative Director of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, who received the Mike Sells Labor Champion Award. Traynor is a phenomenal voice and labor advocate. A U.S. Army veteran and a longtime union man, his efforts and voice are invaluable to the labor community. Congratulations to John Traynor!
Stasia Porter is Grocery Shop Steward and SICLC Union Delegate, representing Teamsters Local 38.