UFCW member runs Twin Cities Marathon for leukemia research


“I’ve been running all my life,” says union member Tom Lucier. But Sunday, Lucier will be running in the Twin Cities Marathon for a special cause: to raise funds for leukemia research in honor of his father, who died from leukemia three years ago. His union, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 653, is supporting his effort. Local 653 will offer several prizes to members of the local who make a small cash donation. The prizes include Wild tickets, Vikings tickets, and a three-day stay at Local 653’s members-only resort near Lutsen on Lake Superior.

Lucier ran cross country at Coon Rapids High School. He ran his first marathon at age 24.

Now 48, he stands six feet, three inches tall and looks every bit the athlete at 210-215 pounds.

Yet, he acknowledges, “I quit [running] for 10 years… I gained a lot of weight. I was working third shift. There was no time for running.” Then, about three years ago, Lucier started running again. “It’s one way I release stress,” he says. “It’s a high.”

Tom Lucier
Tom Lucier is running the Twin Cities Marathon to raise money for leukemia research.

Photo by Steve Share

Training for the marathon, Lucier runs 40-75 miles per week, about one to two hours a day after work.

A 22-year member of Local 653, Lucier currently works in the produce department and juice bar at the Rainbow Foods in Eden Prairie. “I like the challenge of putting the product out there and seeing how fast it sells,” he says.

“Customer first,” he learned from his father, James Lucier, who worked in the grocery business for 23 years and had his own store for eight years in Anoka.

Lucier read the Local 653 newsletter and saw that the union had supported leukemia research through a bowling fundraiser and the local’s “Bag for a Cure,” which raised $130,000. He contacted the Local 653’s president, Ray Sawicky, and proposed the idea of running the Twin Cities Marathon as a fundraiser, if his union brothers and sisters would donate. “I felt I could do something lasting in honor of my dad,” he adds.

“Any money that goes for this cause will be appreciated,” Lucier says. “I know a lot of people at my store have donated.”

Lucier and his wife Cindy live in Andover and have four children.

His goal: to run the marathon under four hours.

UFCW Local 653 members who wish to donate and enter the prize drawing should contact the Local 653 office at 763-525-1500 or 1-800-292-4105.

Steve Share edits the Labor Review, the official publication of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation. Learn more at www.minneapolisunions.org