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Rick Blocker


Rick Blocker has been a member of UFCW 876 for the last 26 years, and served as Secretary-Treasurer for the last 7 years. He has been working in the labor movement for over 40 years, and is also the Chair of the 14th Congressional District of the Democratic Party. He is also the co-chair of the trustee ministry at New Bethel Baptist Church. 

Blocker attended Wayne State University where he majored in History, and also attended the Labor School. Rick is happily married to Elaine and has 3 children and 2 grandchildren. 


Shawndrica Simmons

Secretary Treasurer

Shawndrica N. Simmons is a wife, mother of three, attorney and counselor.  Sister Simmons has been an active union sister for well over 17 years; and has worked in the legal field for almost 20 years. She is a graduate of the Flora M. Walker Training Institute, the National AFL-CIO Leadership Institute and the Harvard Trade Union Program (HTUP). She is a certified labor executive who is highly effective at union administration, collective bargaining (private and public sector), arbitration and grievance handling, and best financial practices. 

Sister Simmons is the only twice elected Metro Detroit AFL-CIO Chief Financial Officer in charge of all moneys, properties, securities and other evidence of investment, books, documents, files and effects of the Federation. She serves as in-house counsel, as well as the human resources director responsible for all internal contract negotiations and labor disputes.

Nikhol Atkins

Executive Vice President

Nikhol Atkins currently serves as Member and Community Mobilizer for the American Federation of Teachers Michigan. Her previous professional positions include State Director for Reform Immigration of America, Community Organizer at Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, Outreach Manager for Center for Progressive Leadership, Base Vote Organizer for Michigan Democratic Party and district staffer for Congressman Sander Levin. She has extensive experience as an organizer for social justice  issues and political campaigns, specializing in training and faciliatation, community outreach and governmental liaising. 

Nikhol earned her Bachelor's of Science in Healthcare Systems Administration at Ferris State and a Master's of Administration degree with a concentration in Strategic Leadership from Central Michigan University. 


Tanise Hill

Executive Assistant to the President

Tanise joined the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO staff in April 2006 as the Executive Assistant to the President of the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO.

She is a board member of Michigan Labor Press (MLP), member of CLUW, member of CBTU, member of the Michigan Labor History Society Program Committee, Secretary of the Executive Board of Doing Development Differently in Detroit (D4), Political Coordinator for APRI Detroit Downriver Chapter, a precinct delegate in the 14th District, and a member of Temple Praise International Church.

Tanise has a BA in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, and is a graduate of the Wayne State Labor Studies Program.

Cathy Long

Executive Bookkeeper

Cathy has been the Executive Bookkeeper at the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO since December 2004 and was previously a member of AFT 4168.

Long is deeply committed to the work that she does on behalf of the many affiliates of the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO and is involved in various community organizations. She is also a proud minister, wife, mother, and grandmother. 


Austin Clark

Campaign Manager

Austin joined the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO in January 2016 as the Campaign Manager.  

After beginning his career in the social work field, Austin began working in politics as he saw working families were under attack under this administration. Austin worked with the Michigan Democratic Coordinated Campaign in 2014 and oversaw the operations in Ingham, Eaton, Livingston, and Jackson County. Then in 2015, Austin went out to New London, CT and ran a mayoral campaign. On this campaign Austin led the campaign to win in a highly competitive primary, his candidate defeated the incumbent mayor, and then they went on to win the general election with 73% of the vote.

Austin graduated from Olivet College with his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. He is currently working on his Master of Public Administration degree at Western Michigan University.


MiChele Basemore

Community Services Labor Liaison

MiChele joined the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO in January 2016 as the Community Services Labor Liaison and is a member of NABET-CWA Local 43.

MiChele has over 25 years of experience in project management.  She is a graphic and web designer. MiChele attended the University of Phoenix and majored in Business.  She has worked with children, young and old for over 20 years.  She has two sons and a daughter.