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Local 400 Member’s Son Hits the Big Time: Performs on “The Voice” April 17th!

TSoul, son of Local 400 member and representative Kenny Pinkard, is a contestant on Season 12 of NBC’s “The Voice.”

Father’s Union Activism Inspires TSoul’s Music Journey

Growing up in a union family in a small town in the Northern Neck of Virginia, Terry “TSoul” Pinkard learned early in life that through dedication and hard work, you can make a significant impact to those around you. That’s exactly what TSoul is doing as he embraces his journey on the NBC singing talent show, “The Voice.”

The son of Local 400 member and representative Kenny Pinkard, who works for Omega Protein, TSoul’s journey has been shaped by his father’s dedication to union activism and changing his community for the better.

“As a kid growing up in such a small town, my outlet and the way I was able to see more of the country was through going with my father to UFCW International conventions,” said TSoul. “There was this one time at the Chicago convention, I think I was around 11 or 12, that I somehow wandered into one of the ballrooms in the hotel, and Michael Jordan and the entire Chicago Bulls team was in there — it was my first time seeing all that TV stuff was real — it made it tangible for me.”

The opportunity to travel with his father led to countless hours in the car listening to music and singing along. The one genre that resonated to TSoul during this road trips was soul music. And that’s defining the path he’s paving for himself as an artist in the music industry.

“It’s a classic genre that many young people my age have forgotten about,” said TSoul. “What’s more amazing is I have a sense that I’m helping to revive soul music and bring awareness to generations today that this type of music exists.”

TSoul told Local 400 that after he sang  Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine” on Tuesday’s show — the first time that song that had ever been performed on the show — his recording of the song was catapulted into iTunes’ Top 10 R&B chart!

“It shows me that I’m doing what I set out to do,” said TSoul. “Stay true to who I am as an artist while educating and impacting younger generations to the classic soul songs.”

Reaching “The Voice” stage was no easy feat for TSoul. He auditioned for the show seven times before making it to the blind audition stage to sing for the panel of celebrity coaches, including country artist Blake Shelton, Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine, R & B singer Alicia Keys and Rock artist Gwen Stefani.

“I got all these nos, but I stayed steady, released more music and more projects,” said TSoul. “It made sense to get it another try this year — it’s really about trusting the timing of your life.”

TSoul began his singing career performing at his local church and entertaining Local 400 members, staff, and community at the Annual Northern Neck Fish Fry and at Gospel Fests in Danville, Va.

Before reaching Hollywood, TSoul sang at his local church and entertained Local 400 members, staff, and community at the Annual Northern Neck Fish Fry and at Gospel Fests in Danville, Va.

“When I sang at the fish fry one year, it was my first time singing in front of strangers or people that weren’t my friends from church,” said TSoul. “And when I received the same response and applause I knew I was on to something.”

For TSoul, music is a healer, which he directly correlated to the union and the work we do together to make the lives of working people better. Now that he’s on “The Voice,” he’s energized knowing that others who are watching him are feeling his passion through their television screen.

“Music is my way of serving people, just as my dad and those he’s worked with at Local 400 have done for countless others,” said TSoul.

Get the latest on TSoul at tsoulonline.com

Vote for TSoul

TSoul made it through the blind auditions, choosing country artist Blake Shelton as his coach. He then went head-to-head with fellow contestants in the Battle Rounds and Knock Out round. What’s next for TSoul? The LIVE shows! The Live show was always the goal for TSoul and this is our chance to back one of our own as the shows go live April 17th.

Here’s how to vote: This year you must vote during the show! (You have to vote during the show, because as the show wraps up people will be sent home.)

  1. Download “The Voice” Official App for Android or iPhone.
  2. Use Twitter to tweet out your vote with the proper hashtags that appear at the bottom of the screen when TSoul is singing!

UFCW Local 400 Growth & Collective Bargaining Updates!

Omega Protein Fishermen

Fishermen at Omega Protein unanimously ratified a three-year collective bargaining agreement April 26. Photo courtesy of Donna Waddell.

Omega Protein Ratifies Three-Year Collective Bargaining Agreement
On Saturday April 26, Omega Protein fishermen unanimously ratified a three-year collective bargaining agreement that improves the lives of 69 members working on the vessels fishing menhaden in the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, when not docked in Reedville, VA along the Northern Neck. The agreement raises their living standards and protects their health and welfare benefits.

Bestway Mt. Vernon Votes for Union Recognition
Thursday April 24, Bestway employees at the Mt. Vernon store in Virginia took a vote to have UFCW Local 400 recognized as their union. After the vote was complete, there were 16 union yes votes, 10 no votes and 9 challenge votes. The challenge votes must be investigated by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) before it can be officially deemed a victory. Last October, Bestway employees from the Falls Church, Va. location had UFCW Local 400 recognized as their union. The employees at the Silver Spring, Maryland location have been represented by Local 400 since 1998. Both locations are currently in contract negotiations.

 

Omega Protein Celebrates 100 Years

Ken Pinkard, Donna Waddell, retiree Jakie Norris, Mark Federici and James Stancil at the 100 year celebration. Photo courtesy of Ken Pinkard.

Local 400 members and staff celebrated the 100th anniversary of Omega Protein on Saturday with the christening of two new vessels — the Rappahannock and the Fleeton — by breaking a champagne bottle over the bow of each. These new boats will bring safety, fuel efficiency, and improved design to our members workplaces every day.

To read more about the christening view the article from the Northcumberland Echo here.

Local 400 Partners with Omega Protein to get Members Licenses

(L-R): Glen Delano, Omar Alemon, Hurston Harcum (chief shop steward), Jason Jones, with Instructor JC Wiegman; photo by Ken Pinkard

In 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard passed a law directly affecting Local 400 members working as fisherman at Omega Protein. It required all engineers on vessels to have a license to operate them by 2014. Local 400 stepped in to keep our members working, forging a partnership with management and the Seafarers’ Union to ensure all affected members have the appropriate licenses. “Thanks to the great relationship the Local 400 leadership has with Omega Protein and the Seafarers union our chief and second engineers were able to get their licenses at no expense,” said Hurston Harcum, chief shop steward at Omega Protein. Omega Protein is funding the course work for all 14 of the chief and second engineers to get licensed. The engineers have been attending the U.S. Coast Guard approved courses at the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education located in Piney Point, Md. The courses cover a wide range of trainings, which include engine operations, maintenance and technology, as well as fire fighting and safety. On average it takes the engineers approximately two years to complete the necessary courses to attain a license because they are taking the courses during their December-May off-season.