Published Friday, November 3, 2023 in The Everett Herald
By Janice Podsada
EVERETT — The Snohomish and Island County Labor Council held its second annual Champions Dinner last month to honor the accomplishments of local labor leaders.
Eighteen local unions, community leaders and a group of labor-friendly elected officials attended the event Oct. 10 at the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center in Everett.
The Mike Sells Labor Champion Award went to John Traynor, legislative director for the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
The award, established last year, is given annually to a recipient who has championed the cause of labor and public service. The nominee can be a person or entity who advocates for working.
“Traynor is a phenomenal voice and labor advocate,” the labor council said in a statement. “A U.S. Army veteran and a long-time union man, his efforts and voice are invaluable to the labor community.”
The award honors former state Rep. Mike Sells, a Democrat who served nine terms representing the 38th Legislative District. Sells retired last year, after 18 years.
Sells was instrumental in cementing Washington State University’s presence in Everett, launching a nursing degree program at University of Washington Bothell and strengthening workplace protections and collective bargaining rights across the state.
Two new awards were added this year to the annual event — the Michael Boe Delegate Labor Champion Award and the Affiliate Labor Champion Award.
John Klosterman, a retired grocery shop steward from Teamsters Local 38, who spends his time volunteering and giving back to the community, was this year’s Delegate Labor Champion recipient.
The International Association of Machinists 751 received the Affiliate Labor Champion award.
This year’s keynote address was delivered by Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
Other guest speakers included U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, Tulalip Tribes Legislative Policy Analyst Charles Adkins, Snohomish County Council member Megan Dunn and Everett City Council member Paula Rhyne.