Rich Ewing, Secretary-Treasurer / Business Representative
Rich represents: ABF Freight, Peninsula Truck lines, and United Parcel Service in Bellingham and Burlington.
Rich has a lifelong history with Teamsters Local 231. His father was a proud member of Local 231 working in the freight and moving & storage industries. Rich knows what it is like to grow up in a family of 7 people who were supported on one Teamster income, with wages and benefits that were fought for over decades. Rich started his career as a local 231 member in 1991 at Yellow Freight. He served many years as shop steward and was a Trustee on the Local 231 Executive Board for several years prior to becoming a Business Representative in 2010. Rich became Local 231 Secretary-Treasurer in September of 2012. He currently serves on the Washington Teamsters Welfare Trust as a Trustee and is the Chairperson of the Appeals Committee. Rich is a trustee on the Retiree's Welfare Trust. He also serves on the Joint Council 28 Executive Board as Secretary-Treasurer. Rich is the Joint Council 28 Freight Division Chair and Union Co-chair for the Teamsters' and Employers' Board of Adjustment.
Jennifer Thompson, President / Business Representative
Jennifer represents: City of Anacortes, City of Bellingham Supervisory and Professional, Coupeville School District, Island County Deputy Prosecutors, Morse Distributors, City of Oak Harbor, Draper Valley Farms, Skagit County PUD and Whatcom County Master Unit.
Jennifer began working at Teamsters Local 231 in 2002 when she was hired as a Dues Clerk and Office Assistant. After 11 years of working in the front office assisting the membership and the staff of the Local Union, Jennifer realized her passion for the Labor movement would be well served in the field, and she was hired into a Business Representative position. Jennifer is committed to doing what she can to improve the working conditions of our membership through negotiating and administering strong contracts, listening effectively and advocating for worker rights. Jennifer was appointed President in September of 2018.
Daron Smith, Recording Secretary / Business Representative
Daron represents: Construction (AGC); (including Haskell, Lakeside and Snelson), Associated Petroleum Products, Darigold, City of Everson, Island County Corrections and Support Staff, LTI, Inc., Milky Way, Miles Sand and Gravel, Skagit County Courts and Parks, Skagit County Juvenile Corrections, Whatcom County Corrections and Master Unit.
Daron started his career as a Teamster in 1999 serving the citizens of Skagit County as a Juvenile Corrections Officer. He became a shop steward in 2000, where he was a dedicated advocate for his fellow employees; and, in 2011, Daron joined Local 231’s Executive Board where he steadfastly served the members of the Local. He served in both capacities through January of 2014. In February of 2014, Daron joined the staff at Local 231 serving the members of the Local as a Business Representative. He has not looked back since and continues to look forward to the future utilizing his experience and dedication to work hard in serving the members of this great Local Union. In September of 2018 Daron was appointed Recording Secretary on the Executive Board for Teamsters Local 231. He also serves as the Joint Council 28 Law Enforcement and Corrections Division Chair.
Heather Ewing, Business Representative
Heather represents: Bellingham Cold Storage, Commercial Cold Storage, EPL Feed, City of Ferndale, RDS, Sanitary Service Company, Souther Glazier's Wine and Spirits, Sudden Valley Community Association, Waste Management and Whatcom PUD. Heather is also the Political Coordinator for the Local Union.
In 1991, Heather graduated from WWU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. In 1992 Heather became a member of the Teamsters when she started working as a Driver Helper for United Parcel Service. In 1996 she became a member of Teamsters Local 227 as a Utility Driver for Wonder Bread. Shortly after she started at Wonder Bread she was nominated Shop Steward. She served the membership as a Shop Steward for 10 years. In 2006, Heather was laid off from Wonder Bread, and she started a career as a Real Estate agent negotiating contracts for home buyers and sellers. Heather's true passion continued to be fighting for the rights of working men and women, so when she had the opportunity to join Teamsters Local 231 in 2014, as a Business Representative and Political Coordinator, she did not hesitate.
Gunnar Birkeland, Business Representative
Gunnar represents: Aramark Uniform Services, Americold Burlington, Americold Lynden, Bellingham School District, Bimbo Bakeries, City of Blaine, City of Burlington, Ferndale School District Transportation, Town of LaConner, City of Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon School District Transportation, Northwest Farm Foods and City of Stanwood.
Gunnar started his tenure with the Teamsters in 1991 while enrolled at WWU and working as a Local Sorter at UPS. After graduating with a BA in Finance, he became a Package Car Driver. He served the membership as the Shop Steward from 2011-2018. Gunnar was on the UPS Bargaining Committee in 2013 and again in 2018, gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience. He was also a Trustee on the Executive Board of Local 231 from February of 2014 until September 2018 before joining Teamsters Local 231 as a Business Representative.
Kelsey Copps, Organizer / Business Representative
Kelsey represents: Bellingham Technical College, Cascade Ambulance, City of Lynden Public Works, City of Lynden Clerical, and Whatcom County Master.
Kelsey, a lifetime resident of Whatcom County, was raised in a strong Union household; she was ecstatic to start her journey as a Teamster when she accepted a position as a Road Maintenance Worker with Whatcom County in 2017. In June of 2020, Kelsey left her position at Whatcom County Public Works and came to work in the office for Local 231 as the Dues Clerk and Administrative Assistant. In her new role, Kelsey learned many invaluable lessons and quickly realized her passion for the labor movement. In late 2021, Kelsey was promoted to her position as a full-time Organizer and Business Representative with Teamsters Local 231. Kelsey is excited to have this opportunity to grow our Union and to represent and fight for the members of Local 231.