jo-and-vikki-web

Vikki Fraga (left) and Jo Benedetti pose with their Soundview logo cake.

 

Update: While Jo Benedetti officially retired as of August 31, she will return to Soundview temporarily on a part-time basis (three days a week, Tuesday-Thursday, 10:00 am-5:00 pm) to assist with specific membership and financial duties that are not easily picked up by others working in the office.

 

We ask that you please bear with us as we transition with new staff. This means that phones will often go directly to voice mail. You may email local leaders and staff directly from this website by clicking on links ABOUT US or LOCALS. Check back on this website for updates. We thank you for your patience.    

     -- Sonya Langford, Council President

 

Jo Benedetti came to Soundview in 1988 after working 9 years in Clover Park District. Back then the Soundview office was only 550 square feet with no window. Newsletters were typed on a typewriter and run off on a mimeograph. The phone rang constantly because there was no email, no voice mail, and certainly no cell phones. Years ago Jo created this Over Easy newsletter, which highlighted union leaders and members. In this final issue she interviews herself and colleague, Vikki Fraga.

Vikki Fraga started working in 2000 as a receptionist part-time in the afternoons after she got off work from her kitchen manager job in Clover Park schools. For many years Vikki put in a 12 hour day! She will continue to work at her job in Clover Park, but will enjoy a shorter work day as she retires from Soundview.

 

How did you two get started in the union?

Vikki: I came in to see Toni Graf because of how I kept getting pulled away from my job. And the next thing you know I’m a building rep, and then later I was elected as Vice President of Food Service.

Jo:I was hired in Clover Park as a Student Accounts secretary in 1979 and was told I would get a step increase for each year of work. But the legislature didn’t provide raises in the 80’s and I stayed on the same step for four years in a row. When some of the folks started talking about the union I started going to the meetings. Then I got busy getting members to sign up. I was so naïve, I even asked the Superintendent’s secretary to join. I thought everyone should be union!

 

 

Do you have any funny stories to tell about working at Soundview?

Vikki: Can we tell the one about the guy who piddled on the chair?

 

 

Yes, definitely tell us about that guy!

Vikki:Sam and I saw a man walking with a cane fall into the flower box outside our office. I went out and asked him if he was okay and brought him inside. I pulled up a chair for him to sit on, and come to find out, he was a bit snockered!

Jo: He was A LOT snockered! He said he had been for days since Obama was elected. That really made me mad!

Vikki: We asked him to leave the office and when he got up we discovered he piddled all over our chair! Needless to say, I was banned from asking strangers to enter the office.

Jo: She was! Sometimes Vikki is too much of a do-gooder. That was years ago and we still talk about it.

 

 

Ha! What happened to that chair?

Jo: Don’t worry, you’re not sitting in it. Vikki threw it in the dumpster.

 

 

So what are your plans for retirement?

Vikki: My plans are to travel to Ireland and Italy. That is where my ancestors are from.

Jo: I hate traveling. I want to do more local fly fishing trips in the fall. I have always wanted to take up archery too. I might take a PhotoShop class at Pierce College. And I will probably go back and tutor in the schools like I used to. There is only so much HG Channel I can watch.

 

 

Vikki I know you’ll still be in Clover Park, but Jo are you looking to work again?

Jo: I’m not sure yet. I might consider going back to the schools in a secretary job. But I might also like to do somethig unrelated to education and unions and politics. Maybe I will go work in a wine bar.

 

 

What do you want union members to know?

Vikki: If you are a union member, don’t sit back and complain if you won’t stand up and speak.

Jo:I like that too! Unions are under attack and I don’t think our members know just how bad things can get without us. They haven’t been here long enough to see how hard we fought to earn those benefits. I wish there was an easier way to communicate to them about why they need to step up along with the leaders.

 

 

Jo, I noticed you wrote that MLK Jr. quote on your blackboard: We must learn to live together as brothers (and sisters) or we are going to perish as fools.

Jo:It bothers me that there is a lot of distrust among the different layers in the union and at the local and state level. And there’s so much discourse among our elected politicians too. I can hardly watch the news pundits anymore and I used to love to do that. We are being distracted as a union and as a country by our own in-fighting and inflated egos, and I’m afraid of how that is going to play out in the end for all of us.

 

 

OK, let’s get less serious, if you won that Powerball jackpot how would you spend the money? And you can’t say ‘give it to charity’!

 

Vikki:Well since I don’t know anybody named Charity, no worries there. I would spend the heck out of it!

Jo:I would donate quite a bit of it to some good Democrats. Then I would get a really good haircut!

 

 

Vikki, what big thing would you buy first?

Vikki:I would buy a little island… all for me. It will not have an address.

 

 

Ha! What will you name your island?

Jo:I think you should call it Vikki-Ville!

 

 

So then I have to ask, what three things would you be sure to bring on your island?

Vikki: Books, chocolate, and Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits.

Jo:If I am invited to Vikki-Ville, I would bring different books from Vikki so we could share, LOTS of wine, and my pillow. I always try to bring my own pillow when I travel.

 

 

What do you do for fun?

Vikki:Fun to me is reading. I do like the little one-armed bandits however!

Jo: I’m a big reader too. I would add fly fishing, photography, blogging, bowling and cooking also.

 

 

Tell us about your fly fishing.

Jo: I took some classes in 1997 and got my husband back into it. I was terrible at fly-tying, but I’m told I have a nice cast. Fly fishing is not easy and I don’t always catch fish. But what I love about it most is that it teaches me patience and humility, not my strongest traits!

 

 

So what books are you both reading?

Jo:My two favorites this year so far are Life of Pi and The Art of Fielding.

Vikki:I just finished reading, The One Good Thing by Kevin A. Milne. Jo and I trade books and she let me read it. That is another thing I will miss… books by Jo.

Jo: We can still trade books! I don’t buy that many on my Kindle!

 

 

What will you do on your first day of retirement?

Vikki:I will be having ankle surgery again and will need to keep off it for two whole weeks!

Jo: My last day is August 30th and my plans are to do nothing the next day. I’m actually kind of a homebody anyway. I’ll probably go sit by my condo pool with a good book and a glass of wine. I will probably disconnect the phone too. There will be many people I will miss, but I won’t miss the ringing phone!

Vikki: I won’t either!