Today, the UCLA Labor Center, UFCW Local 770, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, and LAANE celebrated UFCW 770 President Emeritus John Grant after his 46 years of service, following his retirement.
John Grant dedicated over four decades of his life to empower UFCW 770 members so they could fight for and achieve a better life for themselves and their families.
“This is a beautiful afternoon to celebrate the life and the legacy of a labor warrior, a labor legend, John Grant. I am so honored to be here to speak on behalf of the 800,000 union members in Los Angeles County to say how much we appreciate you and also to have all your friends and family, and colleagues here with you today, demonstrates your leadership ability,” said Yvonne Wheeler, President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (LAFed).
“For over 40 years at Local 770, John Grant was, and really still is, a true Champion for Economic and social justice, fighting for workers rights and democracy in union governance, and motivating and inspiring more member participation. But it’s not just about the movement, John also cares deeply about people, not just as workers, but also as individuals and he is a good friend and a strong support for his family,” UFCW 770 President Kathy Finn said.
“Under John’s Presidency, Local 770 made huge progress toward becoming a more democratic, power building union. We created Contract Action Teams, historic rank-and-file bargaining committees, and bargained for member led health and safety committees. I’m so glad John was President during the pandemic. His leadership led to precedent-setting legislation and regulations regarding sick leave, workers compensation, safety protocols, testing and hazard pay.”
“In short, John worked to empower workers and make our union movement stronger as a Meat Packer, Shop Steward, Picket Captain, Union Rep, In-house Counsel, Secretary-Treasurer, and President. He led our union forward through critical moments in the long march for dignity and democracy. John is a true champion for workers rights and democracy, he’s been my mentor and friend, my comrade and an outstanding and courageous union leader,” Kathy Finn added.
“As Chair of LAANE’s board, John is really committed not only to the folks who are members of his Union, he’s committed to organizing the unorganized and he is committed to workers who probably may never be in a union, to really raising the floor with policies like Fair Scheduling and to really be in alignment with a progressive set of community allies who care about workers’ rights,” said Roxana Tynan, Executive Director of Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) who underscored the fact that preventing Walmart from opening a store in Inglewood had to do with John’s leadership.
“John’s values are beyond question but he’s not only motivated by the revolution -although I do love you for that-, but also he’s a very funny dude and I’ve spent many dinners laughing at his jokes”, she added.
Kent Wong, the Director of UCLA Labor Center shared that when John was a Student Body President at UC Santa Barbara, he led a fundraiser to rebuild a hospital that had been bombed by US planes during the Vietnam war. Decades later, a US labor delegation went to Vietnam. When the host unions learned about John’s courageous action, they changed the itinerary to visit the hospital that had received the funds.
“That is a representation of the impact that John has had as someone who’s been deeply committed to the US working class, as someone who has helped to transform one of the most important unions right here in Los Angeles –UFCW 770, who's helped to do strikes, who’s helped organize workers and his transformational impact to the broader Los Angeles labor movement.”
John was given a framed poster that represents the life and legacy of Reverend James Lawson Jr., signed by himself and the event participants. “John is carrying on the life and legacy of Reverend Lawson, he is carrying on the tradition of revolutionary movements that have challenged plantation capitalism, that have fought for a better life for workers, for communities of color and for all oppressed people. This is for you John Grant from all of us. We celebrate you and we thank you for your leadership.”