Enthusiasm for her union and hard work define Deanna (Dee) Rodgers. This mother of two works hard and plays hard. She works in the bakery department as a warehouse clerk at Food 4 Less Euclid Ave. She currently works 30 hours a week. As a steward, she’s always enthusiastic about helping out with grievances. She answers questions from her co-workers regarding the contract. If her coworkers are concerned about their hours or if they want her to talk to the manager for them, she does it.

“When the contract first came out I read it, just to get familiar, and I always have it on me,” she said. “I’ve helped people regain their schedules back where they’ve requested three-days off and the manager gives them four days off, and things like that. I’ve gotten people actual hours back, I’ve done that twice. They can’t take hours away from you.”

Deanna has been known to go out and help her brothers and sisters from other workplaces when they were in contract negotiations and says she will continue to do so. Her daughter, Maryah, is 11. Her son, Anthony, is 24, in the Air Force and on his way to Kuwait. He takes care of cargo planes and will be there for seven months. Anthony has a little boy named Angelo whose mother is also out on deployment, so Angelo will stay with Dee and with his other grandparents.

He will be with them for six months until Anthony gets back. “I was proud that he chose the military,” she said. “My dad wouldn’t let me join the military. He was an officer for 31 years and he taught me, what you get out of anything is what you put into it, which is my belief. You have to make an effort to better yourself and your surroundings. You have to make it happen.” And that’s where her dedication to the union comes from, as well as her love for fitness. She loves to run – usually 6 to 10 miles, but once a month she runs 15 to 18 miles from home to Cowels Mountain and then back again.

Dee is also an instructor at 24-Hour Fitness. She has been teaching Body Combat, strength training, and cardio endurance there for 17 years. “I just ran the Rock and Roll Marathon,” she said. “I run half marathons a lot but this is my first full one. I just wanted to finish. That was a definite win for me.” Dee has worked for Smith’s, Lucky’s and Albertsons. “My boyfriend Leonard was working at Food 4 Less and I decided to switch over from Albertsons to Food 4 less. I’ve been in the union for 25 years. Always been active from the very beginning.

“The military was my family for the first 23 years of my life, and then I converted to the union and made the union my family. I wouldn’t have what I have today if I hadn’t gotten into the union. I have a strong foundation, great benefits, full-time employment, and job security, which is very hard to find nowadays. “Mickey’s the best president we could have ever asked for. Because of him, we have all of this (good wages and benefits). And my rep Sarah is the most dedicated. She’s there for the workers. She knows her stuff and she’s definitely in it for the members.”