UAW Mourns the Loss of Geri Ochocinska, First Woman Elected Regional Director in UAW History


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UAW President Ray Curry and the UAW International Executive Board announced the death Monday of former UAW Region 9 Director Geri Ochocinska. Director Ochocinska was the first woman elected as a Regional Director serving two terms from 1998 until her retirement in 2006. In 1994, Ochocinska was also the first woman to be appointed Assistant Director of Region 9 by legendary Region 9 Director Tom Fricano.

“Geri was a pioneering trade unionist who broke the glass ceiling when she was elected Regional Director of Region 9,” said UAW President Ray Curry. “She organized the Rich Ice Cream Company in 1965, rising in her local to become Vice President and financial secretary during a time when female elected leaders were rare. Once appointed to the UAW International Staff in 1976, Ochocinska was a strong labor representative with over 60 companies in western New York.

“We honor Geri Ochocinska today for her lifetime of service, advocacy for working families and most of all for being a pioneer leader of women who paved the way for so many influential UAW women in leadership. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ochocinska family.”

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