USA – Harry Van Arsdale Junior
“Harry Van Arsdale Jr. (1905-1986) was born during a 33-month lock out of Building Tradesmen, by the Building and Construction Industry of New York City. The memories of his father being unemployed and the effect it had on his family remained with him throughout his life. It was the determination to insure workers and their families would have better lives, that drove him to be a trade union leader, a concerned citizen and internationalist. He was responsible for the first multi-employer plan in the construction industry in 1941; paid holidays, paid vacation, the establishment of annuity funds for workers and the founding of the Joint Industry Board of the Electrical Industry. He also established educational scholarships for member’s children in 1949.
Later, in 1961, he instituted an affirmative action program to enable minorities to enter electrical trade. He became the first president of the New York City Central Labor Council and served as President until his death in 1986 and expanded the role of labor throughout New York City. He organized good will study tours to Puerto Rico in 1958 to observe and understand the difficulties Puerto Rican immigrants were experiencing in the work place. Similar tours were conducted to other countries. Harry began a drive to establish a Labor College in New York City which was established in 1971 as part of State University of New York, Empire State College. As a result, labour leaders and members can go to college and earn Associate, Bachelor and Masters decrees in labour studies”
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