For Local 818's Tim Foley, "Turning Waste Into Water" Has Been A 44-Year Labor of Love

Tim Foley of AFSCME Local 818 (Municipal Supervisors) is a man who treasures stability.

For example, he’s been married to his wife Suzanne for 42 years. And on Jan. 31, he retired from the Vernon Water Pollution Control Authority after 44 years on the job.

The secret to his career longevity was simple.

“I loved the job,” he said with a characteristic mix of humor and earnestness. “Where else can you take [human waste] and turn it into clean water?”

At the time of his retirement, the 64-year-old Foley had served as his Local 818 Chapter President for 21 years. Prior to joining the WPCA Supervisors Union, he was a member of AFSCME 

 Local 1471, which represents Public Works, Parks and Recreation and WPCA in Vernon.

Foley, who also served 12 years as President of Local 1471, said that union participation held personal and professional value:

“The union to me was about working together with like-minded people. It was about teamwork. We learned that in Local 1471 and carried into [our Local 818 union.]”

He added, “The union gives us the right to negotiate for our pay and benefits. I didn’t have that right when I worked non-union. It gives us a voice.”

Foley’s colleagues, Collection System Foreman DJ Lupacchino and Plant Supervisor Dan Stachowiak, echoed those sentiments.

“Tim and I melded well together,” said Stachowiak, who has worked at the WPCA for 44 years. “We learned how to resolve things through our union.”

 Luppachino, like Foley, was the President of Local 1471 before getting promoted to the supervisory bargaining unit. “Tim and I had similar outlooks coming from Local 1471. We worked well together," he said.

Foley is looking forward to spending time with his family, including his wife, his two sons and two grandchildren. He will soon travel to Ireland – which he describes as a “bucket list” item made possible by a union-represented career at the WPCA.

“It’s been a great run,” he smiled, minutes before striding out the door for the last time.