With heavy hearts, SEIU Local 668 learned that our long-time friend and former Business Agent Rick Adams passed January 17, 2019. Rick was first a member of PSSU, working as a caseworker up in Erie County and an officer of the Northwest Chapter and of the Erie County Central Labor Council. He then made the transition to Business Agent and eventually Organizer. With over seventeen years of service, Rick supported numerous worksite locations across the state, helping many workers here in the Commonwealth whenever they needed union assistance.
A life-long resident of Pennsylvania, Rick didn’t let his love of the Commonwealth keep him from exploring every corner of the world. He and his wife, Robin, often traveled together, and at last count, Rick had visited fourteen foreign countries and twenty-three different states.
Working at 668 provided Rick the outlet for political action that he loved. A Progressive Democrat, he championed causes such as marijuana legalization, a woman’s right to choose and gay marriage. Rick was active at every political level, from local and state-wide elections to hard-fought national elections, and he always had an opinion on which candidate would be best for the people. As a result, Rick – at labor unions’ urging – became Erie County personnel director in 1982, following the election of a very union-friendly county executive, Judy Lynch.
Rick is best-remembered for his sense of humor and optimism. Co-workers and friends fondly recall some of their best memories of Rick including funny jokes as well as his ability to find the positive in nearly any situation. On at least one occasion during his ten-year tenure as Personnel Director, Rick and 668 negotiators received help from CE Lynch in cutting through an impasse on New Year’s Eve as the contract was about to expire: She placed a fifth of Irish whiskey on the table between the deadlocked negotiators and announced that she was going home. Rick picked up on the gesture and urged that the two sides split the contents of the bottle and come back to the table in a half hour. The contract was settled a short time later. During his years of service, he encountered thousands of people through the union, and made an impact in many ways on so many more. Workers and colleagues gained much because of Rick’s efforts, and we have lost much in his passing.
Survived by his wife Robin (herself a long-time 668 member), his son and daughter, and a number of siblings, Rick’s memory will continue to live on, especially with SEIU 668 members and staff.
Condolences may be submitted to https://www.bruggerfuneralhomes.com/obituaries/11240/3 or sent to 3926 Parade Blvd., Erie, PA 16504.