FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
Contact: Jessica Hayssen, 651-261-8559
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Today, UFCW Local 663’s Southwest Minnesota Packing Director Michael Potter has been appointed as Special Assistant to the President. UFCW Local 663’s Organizing Director Rena Wong was unanimously approved by the executive board on January 3, 2022 to complete current President Matt Utecht’s term. Together, Potter and Wong will lead the 17,000 member union.
“As I continue the process of transitioning towards retirement, I am taking steps to ensure that the members of Local 663 have the most effective, experienced leadership to grow our Union and workers’ power. At a time when workers most need and want a union, Rena and Michael have proven to be the capable leaders we need,” said Matthew Utecht, current UFCW Local 663 President.
Michael Potter has been an advocate for social justice and workers’ rights for many years. He is passionate and dedicated to serving the members of Local 663 and the community.
Potter’s meatpacking career began in 1989 at Monfort Pork in Worthington, now JBS-USA. In 1999, Potter was elected as President of UFCW Local 1161. He has served on the UFCW Advisory Board, UFCW Region 6 Northern Plains Council, and as Chairperson for JBS Pork within the International Union’s Packing Plant Chain. In September 2018, Potter became Southwest Minnesota Director of Packing after a membership vote to merge and form Local 663.
He has been married to his wife Suzie for 28 years, and loves spending time with their grandchildren.
Rena Wong is a fierce advocate for workers’ rights and economic justice in Minnesota. Originally from California and is Chinese American by way of Mexico, she attended UCLA on scholarship during the Justice for Janitors strike in Los Angeles in 2000. That fight and victory by low wage workers, so much like her parents, to be visible and for a dignified living wage inspired her to join the labor movement. She believes that by activating members, organizing non-union workers and partnering with other unions, faith groups and community organizations we can improve the lives of all workers across our society.
She serves on Local 663’s Executive Board, is a member of the Minneapolis Retail Meat Cutters & Food Handlers Board of Trustees for the Local’s Health & Welfare and Pension, and is on the UFCW Region 6 Council.
Under Wong’s union organizing leadership, Twin Cities retail food cooperatives joined UFCW Local 663 including hundreds of workers at Seward, Eastside and Linden Hills coops. Wong spearheaded legislative work for local members and future union members through important community coalition work to push for driver’s licenses for all and frontline worker pay. She continues to push for essential worker safety and protection legislation, and fortifies union membership against any Right to Work threats in Minnesota. Wong has led and been a part of various contract negotiations over her six plus years at the local, growing and securing better wages and benefits for thousands of UFCW Local 663 members.
She has lived in Minnesota since 2003, is married and has two children.
UFCW Local 663’s most recent unionizing efforts include retail workers at Peace Coffee and Half Price Books in Minnesota. In Fall 2021, UFCW Local 663 merged with UFCW Local 9 in Southeast Minnesota to increase its membership and continues to be the largest United Food & Commercial Workers Local in the five state area.
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 663 is a union of more than 17,000 hard-working frontline essential workers in retail, meat packing and processing, food preparation and manufacturing and healthcare in Minnesota and Iowa led by President Matt Utecht. We strive to improve the lives of our members and of all working families by fighting for economic, political, and social justice in our workplaces and communities. Local 663 is part of the 1.3 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.