2022 Featured Speakers

Presented in order of appearance

Leveraging Workers’ Capital to Benefit and Grow Union Membership

Jacques Loveall
President, UFCW 8-Golden State

Jacques is president of UFCW 8-Golden State and chair of UFCW Trust, which funds pension and health care benefits for 125,000 active workers, dependents and retirees in the food and drug industries. He is a vice president of the UFCW International Union and a vice president of the California Labor Federation. He is also chair of the Loveall Foundation for Children, a nonprofit charity dedicated to helping children reach their full potential.

Steve McCourt
Meketa Investment Group

Steve is managing principal of Meketa Investment Group. He serves as lead consultant for several institutional funds with public, Taft-Hartley, endowment, non-profit and corporate plan sponsors. He also leads the firm’s Global Macroeconomic Working Group. He sits on the steering committee of the University of California, San Diego Economics Roundtable.

Bruce Raynor
U.S. Labor Union Leader

Bruce is the principal of R & S Associates, an investment consulting firm based in New York, as well as president emeritus of Workers United and former general president of UNITE HERE. In addition, he is the former executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a founding member of the Leadership Council of the Change to Win Federation and a member of the Cornell University Board of Trustees. He chaired several Union-affiliated national pension and insurance funds and was chairman of the board of Amalgamated Life Insurance Company, a union-affiliated insurance company established in 1943. Bruce also served as chairman of the Amalgamated Bank, the only union-owned bank in the United States, with assets of more than $4.5 billion, and is former co-chair and current member of the Council of Institutional Investors, an organization of investors that control $3 trillion in pension funds. Bruce is also president of The Sidney Hillman Foundation, a foundation that supports and rewards socially conscious journalism.

Trends in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Larry Innocent
President, Pharmacy Benefits Solutions, Inc.

Larry has 25 years of experience negotiating contracts and auditing Pharmacy Benefit Management companies (PBMs). His clients include multiemployer labor trusts, self-insured employers and HMOs. Larry recovers millions of dollars annually from PBMs on behalf of his clients. He has audited all of the top PBMs in the nation. In addition, he has engineered pharmacy benefit strategies which have saved his clients tens of millions of dollars each year through contract negotiations and cost containment initiatives. Previously, he was senior vice president and chief operating officer for Health Net’s Pharmaceutical Services Division (HNPS), which managed more than $1 billion in drug expenditures for 5.5 million members. Under his leadership, Larry has engineered a return to profitability, earning more than $100 million in pretax profit. Larry is a certified public accountant in the state of California and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from Pacific Union College.

Perspectives of Labor Leaders Around the Country

Amber Baur
Executive Director, UFCW Western States Council

Amber is executive director of the UFCW Western States Council, which represents 185,000 UFCW members who work in California, Arizona and Nevada. Amber leads the UFCW’s political and legislative efforts in states affiliated with the council. Prior to the Western States Council, she served as political director for the San Francisco Labor Council for more than eight years. Amber was instrumental in building a strategic organization designed to grow support for the contract, bargaining and organizing goals of affiliates while developing and implementing political field and data operations. She also worked with Noreen Evans in her bid for the State Assembly in Northern California as campaign director and then district director once Evans was elected.

Steve Lomax
President, UFCW Local 1996 / UFCW International Vice President

Steve began his career in the grocery business as a bagger with Big Star (Colonial Stores) in 1970. In 1973, he went to work with the Kroger Company, where full time work was available, and became a business agent for the Retail Clerks Union Local 1063 in 1974. In 1989, Steve was appointed vice president on the Executive Board of Local 1063, as well as administrative assistant to the president. He was later elected as secretary-treasurer in 1993. While in that position, in 1995, Retail Clerks Local 1063 merged with Local 442 of the Amalgamated Meatcutters, forming UFCW Local 1996. In 1998, Steve was elected president of UFCW Local 1996 and continues to serve in that position. In 2003, he was elected vice president on the UFCW International Executive Board.

Dan Pedersen
President, UFCW Local 876

Dan is president of UFCW Local 876, which represents 18,000-plus members throughout the state of Michigan. He was elected as president after being with the local for more than 16 years, during which time Dan served in such roles as member services representative, business agent and secretary-treasurer. In addition to his daily duties, Dan serves on the boards of UFCW United Latinos, the UFCW National Pension Fund, Heartland Health, the Wellness Fund and IVAPP, among others.

Jim McLaughlin
President, UFCW Local 99 / UFCW International Vice President

Jim is president of UFCW Local 99, the largest UFCW local union in a right-to-work state with almost 22,000 members. Local 99 spans the entire state of Arizona and also represents members in Nevada and New Mexico. He is a vice president of the UFCW International Union and is on the boards of Arizona’s AFL-CIO Executive Council and Labor’s Community Service Agency. In addition, he chairs the Desert States Pension Fund and the UFCW Arizona Health and Welfare Fund.

Brian String
President, UFCW Local 152

Brian is president of UFCW Local 152 in New Jersey. His union journey began in 1981 when he became a member of Local 1358 at the age of 14, when he worked as a cart boy at Food Town in Pleasantville, New Jersey. In 1985, he joined the staff of the UFCW International Union and helped organize hospital workers in Atlantic City. Though he was primarily assigned to southern New Jersey, he was instrumental in organizing 13 Vons stores in Fresno, Calif. Throughout the 1990s, he served his local as organizing director, business agent and director of collective bargaining. Brian became president of Local 1358 in 1997, and after a merger in 2005, he has became president of Local 152.

Kirk Vogt
Secretary-Treasurer, UFCW 8-Golden State

Kirk is secretary-treasurer of UFCW 8-Golden State, which represents some 35,000 members who work in grocery and drug stores, food-processing plants and offices from the Oregon border in the north to Kern County in the south. Kirk has extensive experience in collective bargaining and is widely recognized for his high standards of service to Union members, his extraordinary talents as a Union administrator and his detailed knowledge of pension and health & welfare trust funds. Over the years, Kirk served in many positions at UFCW 1288, including administrative assistant to the president, secretary-treasurer, recorder and executive vice president of the retail division. In 2006, when UFCW 1288 merged with UFCW 588 to form UFCW 8-Golden State, Kirk was elevated to the rank of senior executive vice president of the new local and then to secretary-treasurer. Since then, he has been deeply involved in almost every facet of the Union’s leadership, from contract negotiations to organizing to management of pension and health benefits. He serves as a union trustee in the UFCW & Employers Benefit Trust of Northern and Central California and the UFCW-Northern California Employers Joint Pension Trust Fund.

Working and Living: Finding a Balance

Andy Masters

Andy is an award-winning author and international speaker who has presented more than 1,000 programs for more than 100,000 attendees on leadership, sales and customer experience. He has earned the prestigious CSP award of the National Speakers Association (NSA), the highest international recognition for professional speakers, achieved by fewer than 10% of more than 5,000 speakers worldwide. Andy has written five books and earned four degrees, including an M.A. in human resources development and an M.A. in marketing from Webster University in Missouri. He is the author of the award-winning book, Kiss Your Customer: 77 Reasons Why Sales & Service Are Just Like Dating & Relationships, and his latest book, Things LEADERS Say: A Daily Guide to Help Every Leader Empower & Inspire. Andy has been featured by the LifeTime Television Network, PBS, Investor’s Business Daily, and Leadership Excellence magazine.