In Focus – Zach Benedict

Zach Benedict serves as SEIU 503–085 secretary, a general council delegate and a steward.

Zach Benedict serves as SEIU 503–085 secretary, a general council delegate and a steward.

Please introduce yourself and explain your job.

My name is Zachary Benedict—I go by Zach.

I work at the American English Institute as the Student Engagement Coordinator of our activities and volunteer programs.

The mission of my job is to provide real-life experiences for our international second-language English students in which to practice their English in purposeful and meaningful ways outside of their classes. I’ve been on campus for almost five years, and not only do I love the University of Oregon, I absolutely love the people that I serve at the American English Institute and hold deep pride in the contributions of my department to the university community.

What does the union mean to you? How did you become involved with 085?

Being a member of SEIU is also something that I take zealous pride in. We stand up for each other, we fight back when things aren’t right, and we work hard for a better life, not just for ourselves, but also for our families and friends.

I affirmatively believe the words “Stronger Together.” During a time of hardship, colleagues that I knew and members who I didn’t know donated sick leave hours to me. That meant so much to me at a time when lifting me up, even just a little bit was more impactful for my family and I than words can describe.

When an opportunity came up to get more involved and help others, I took it. I started out as our Hardship Leave Liaison, and now currently serve as our local Secretary, a General Council Delegate, and a Steward. I completed two Member Leader Development Program waves and graduated from the 2016 AFL-CIO UO LERC Summer School, all during this year.

Beyond the UO and the union, what is Zach all about?

Beyond my work at the UO, I love spending time with my partner Dustin, our cat Willow, our two dogs Dezi and Tito and our most recent babies, Butter- cup, Birdy and Bette—chickens!

I’m the youngest brother of seven siblings, an uncle to 17 children and a great-uncle to three more children. I truly love how close my family is, and I appreciate their support of my passion for service.

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SEIU Local 085