David Bartlett is in his sixteenth year serving as a successful officer/business agent with the Graphic Communications Union. He began his printing career on June 27, 1978, at age 17 working for Vicks Lithograph and Printing in Yorkville, New York. Dave, as he is better known, became a GCIU Local 259M member shortly after his 18th birthday. He started in the bindery as a folder operator and quickly moved to the pressroom as an apprentice press operator. Upon completing the two-year apprenticeship, Dave became a journeyman operator, followed by a four-year position as an apprentice pressman. He moved from a one-color press to a two-color press and finished his thirty-plus year printing career as a multi-color pressman running a six-color press.
Twenty years after first joining the union, in 1998, Dave became Vicks’ shop steward. One year later he was asked by Local 259M President Joe Belleville to join the Executive Council Board, which Dave gladly accepted. By 2003, Dave won the first of two uncontested elections for local vice president, both of which he served under President James Quick. In 2009, Dave secured the top position at Local 259M when he won the presidency in yet another unopposed election.
As soon as he took office, Dave faced an industry landscape of declining membership, shop closings, and a Teamsters’ mandate to integrate every local into the TITAN computer system, which would have been cost prohibitive for Local 259M. In order to comply with the Teamsters’ directive, Dave took the financially prudent step of seeking out a merger under the guidance of past presidents Emery Miller and Joe Belleville, along with the Local 259M Executive Board. In 2011, a vote was passed to merge the local with the oldest printing union in the country, The Amalgamated Lithographers of America Local 1L in New York City. Dave became one of Local 1L’s three vice presidents, and in 2014 was made a business agent. It is the title he currently holds, in addition to that of pressman representative on Local 1L’s Council Board.
Dave spends much of his free time volunteering for the Central New York Labor Council where he holds the dual roles of sergeant at arms and trustee on the Central New York Labor Agency Board. He is also an honorary member of the Cassville Volunteer Fire Department where he had been an active member for over thirty years. Dave is married to his lovely wife, Debbie, and together they enjoy spending time with their seven children. Debbie and Dave are excited to expand their family this winter with the arrival of their first two grandbabies.