Doug Dority took the helm of America’s Agenda in 2004 to concentrate his attention on solving what he terms “one of the most serious domestic issues confronting our country.” Under Dority’s leadership, America’s Agenda has evolved from an idea into an organization earning national respect for its contributions toward building bipartisan alliances between business and labor that are needed to solve America’s healthcare crisis.
Before becoming President of America’s Agenda, Dority was International President of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), a union whose members have been in the forefront of the battle to protect health benefits on the job.
In the winter of 2003-04, thousands of grocery workers were embroiled in bitter strikes in California, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, holding the line for workers across the nation whose health benefits were under attack. Dority didn’t blame the employers—he blamed the system. “No one union, no one company, has a solution for the health care crisis,” he said. “It has to be a national political solution, spearheaded by the states.”
In March 2004 after workers returned to their jobs, their health benefits intact, Dority announced his resignation from UFCW “to devote my energies to a new effort to convince our political leaders that health care for all Americans is long overdue.”
Dority dedicated 43 years of his life to the UFCW, its members, and the American labor movement. He began his union service as a retail clerk and rank-and-file organizer at a grocery store in Virginia, where he successfully organized his own store, as well as ten others in the chain.
He brought grassroots organizing spirit to every position that he held in the union. In an era of union busters, Dority distinguished himself as a union builder. As Organizing Director in the 1980s, he launched a decade of unsurpassed organizing success for the UFCW with an average of 85,000 newly organized members a year.
As International President, Dority put in place aggressive programs to energize local union political activism, including a prominent role in President Clinton’s two presidential campaigns. He was actively committed to diversity throughout the UFCW and led the way in creating new leadership opportunities for the union’s large and diverse membership of women, African American, Latino and new immigrant workers.
Throughout his career, Dority has been a leader in the fight to bring health and pension benefits to all workers. His leadership at America’s Agenda continues Dority’s decades-long commitment to national health care reform that would guarantee health coverage for all Americans.
Douglas H. Dority