BCTGM Local 1 Officers

Donald Woods

headshot of Donald Woods

Local Union No. 1 President

Donald Woods has worked in the Bakery industry for over 39 years. He started working at New Process Baking Company (better known as Holsum Bakery) located on the south side of Chicago. In April of 1979 he started working in Sanitation, and later bid into a production position where he worked various jobs, such as a divider operator, mixer and oven operator. In January of 1986, he was elected to serve his co-workers as a Chief Steward and an Executive Board Member of Local Union No 1 BCTGM. In April of 1997 he was appointed as a Chairman of the Trustee Committee and Chairman of the Financial Committee, which he served until he was appointed Business Agent/Organizer in February of 2002. As a Business Agent, he represented several shops and led many organizing drives. In May of 2008 he was appointed President of Local Union No. 1 and was elected Vice President and Executive Board Member of Illinois State AFL-CIO. Don served as Chairman of the Committee of Committees at both the 2010 and 2014 International Constitution Conventions: In 2011 he was elected Trustee of the BCTGM Candy, Snack and Pasta Council. In September 2016 he was appointed to the General Executive Board of the BCTGM International Union and was reelected at the 2018 International BCTGM 40th Constitution Convention. In October of 2016 he was elected President of the Midwestern Region. Since becoming President, he has participated in negotiating all of BCTGM Local 1 contracts. Donald Woods knows your struggles and understands how hard you work day in and day out; the work that puts food on the table, keeps a roof over your head and your bills paid on time. He knows it isn’t always easy, but we keep striving for that American dream and the hope, that someday, our children and grandchildren will be better off than we are today. As a prior bakery worker himself, Donald makes it his responsibility to advocate for your rights and making your voice heard in the work place. A native of Moore Head Mississippi, Woods is married and has a daughter, two sons and 9 grandchildren.

Beth Zavala

headshot of Beth Zavala

Local Union No. 1 Financial Secretary Treasurer/ Business Agent

Beth Zavala has been a member of the BCTGM since 1992. She started in the labor movement as a secretary in Local No. 2 where she served as translator for grievance meetings, membership meetings and arbitrations. In 1997, she was appointed Recording Secretary/Business Agent and Executive Board Member of Local Union No. 1. She served as Secretary of the By-Laws Committee at that time. Beth continued to be elected and relected Recording Secretary/Business Agent until she was appointed Financial Secretary-Treasurer in 2017. She then served on the Committee of Committees in the 40th Constitutional Convention. Beth currently represents 15 Shops and has led many organizing drives including two winning campaigns. Beth is also very active in community organizing and is the designated representative for the Labor Committee on Immigrant Workers Rights and has participated in the Labor Rights week in the Mexican Consul in Chicago to provide information on the right to organize. She also serves on the credential committee of the AFL-CIO and is a member of CLUW, Coalition of Labor Union Women. She is on the Advisory Committee of the DePaul Labor Education Center as well. Beth firmly believes that worker’s rights are human rights and that everyone is deserving of respect and fair treatment in the workplace regardless of who you are or where you come from. Beth has been in numerous negotiations always striving to improve the benefits and working conditions of all Local No. 1 members. Beth is married and has three children and was born in Quito-Ecuador.

Rochelle Ross

headshot of Rochelle Ross

Local Union No. 1 Recording Secretary/ Business Agent

Rochelle Ross, a resident of Chicago, IL, started working at Nestle Chocolate USA, formerly known as Curtiss Candy Co. on September 24, 1979. She worked in just about every department in the plant, from packing candy bars to Machine Operator. Rochelle noticed numorous changes taking place at Nestle and realized that the changes were affecting the working conditions of her fellow coworkers. Rochelle decided to become a steward because she knew she had to somehow make a difference and help the members fight back. In July of 1982, Rochelle was elected as Area Steward and Trustee. A year later she was appointed to Chief Steward. Rochelle remained a Chief Steward until December of 2004. She was also on the Executive board and Chairperson on the Election and Financial Committee. In July of 2008 she was appointed to the position of Organizer/ Business Agent. In 2017 she was appointed to Recording Secretary/Business Agent/ Organizer and continues to serve BCTGM Local 1 while representing many shops in the Chicagoland area and neighboring States in the Midwest. She served on the Constitution Committee in the 40th Constitutional Convention 2018. Rochelle has led many organizing drives, has won three of her organizing campaigns, and is involved in various contract negotiations. She knows it takes a lot to achieve the best benefits and working conditions for all the Union Members and works hard to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity, justice and respect while on the job. Rochelle is single and has two kids, son-in-law, and three grandchildren.

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