Labor's Voice for Change (40) June 2, 2009

Why I Have Become a Candidate for a Position
On the 43-Member AFL-CIO Executive Council

By Harry Kelber


On June 1, I sent a registered letter to AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trunka, formally announcing that I am a candidate for one of the 43 seats on the AFL-CIO Executive Council in the election that will take place at the Federationís quadrennial convention on September 14-17 in Pittsburgh.

What is unusual about my candidacy is that I am the only rank-and filer in labor history who is forcing the incumbent labor leadership to hold a formal election for the Executive Council, with a printed ballot and adherence to legal election procedures.

Even more unusual, I shall be 95 years old this June, the oldest labor candidate to run for national office. Among my current activities, I write three columns a week for a labor audience on the Internet and have never missed a single column.

My baptism in the labor movement began during the Great Depression, in 1933, when I became the leader of a bitter four-month strike. A few years later, I was named editor of an independent labor weekly, where I reported on the CIOís organizing campaigns and legislative victories.

For more than 70 years, I have served the labor movement in various capacities: as an organizer, journalist, labor professor, pamphleteer, lecturer and union adviser, with a lifetime of advocacy for union democracy and worker rights. I think I am worthy of being elected to the 43-member AFL-CIO Executive Council.

* * * * *

But people have asked: Why, at this stage of his life, has Kelber decided to run for a leadership position within the AFL-CIO? To put it simply: What makes Harry run? To answer that perplexing question, Iíve made a video, in which youíll see and hear me providing you with an answer. And you can judge for yourself whether I deserve your support.

Click here or above to watch the video.