David J. Hoffa, Vice President
Amb. Ned L. Siegel, Chair
Yuval Rabin, Honorary Chair
Hon. Madeleine K. Albright
Hon. James A. Baker III
Hon. Henry A. Kissinger
Hon. Dennis Ross
PAST AWARD RECIPIENTS
Edward J. McElroy
James P. Hoffa
Barbara J. Easterling
Terrence M. O'Sullivan
Cecil E. Roberts
J. David Cox, Sr.
John T. Coli
Eric T. Schneiderman
Joseph T. Hansen
Deval L. Patrick
Richard L. Trumka
Martin J. Walsh
Morton Bahr’s career as president of the Communications Workers of America was driven by a mission to empower his union sisters and brothers, using education as the vehicle. In 1985, upon taking the leadership of the CWA, Bahr recognized that changes in the telecommunications industry signaled new realities of life on the job. Bahr’s vision focused on equipping union members with higher education and portable skills valued in the marketplace. He created opportunities through corporate programs and the Morton Bahr scholarships.
Ed McElroy is a powerful advocate for labor rights and for the promotion of high-quality public education as an elective tool to combat inequality, promote peace and enhance democracy in the United States and around the world. As president of the AFT, he encouraged programs that enhance members’ participation, giving them an active voice. Believing in strong international ties to achieve common goals of education, workers rights, social and economic justice, and democracy, McElroy served on the board of Education International, an organization of democratic teacher unions around the world. He also served on the board of the National Endowment for Democracy, and was an officer of the Jewish Labor Committee. McElroy is a leader in a wide range of community, civic and labor organizations. He is a member of the board of the Albert Shanker Institute, and chair of the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO. He also serves on the boards of the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago, Working America and the National Labor College.
James P. Hoffa’s tireless efforts representing over 1.4 million Teamsters in the US and Canada strives to help workers build better lives. He is dedicated to protecting the rights of workers on the job, in the halls of Congress, and overseas. Hoffa grew up in the labor movement as the son of legendary labor leader James R. Hoffa, former General President of the Teamsters. In 1956, James R. Hoffa led a delegation of Teamsters to Israel to dedicate the James R. Hoffa Children’s Home, built by the Israeli trade union movement. Since becoming General President of the Teamsters in 1999, James P. Hoffa has been responsible for organizing tens of thousands of workers and negotiating industry-leading contracts. General President Hoffa also understands the value of remembering one’s roots. One of his priorities has been to establish a union archive, making available to the public rare and historical papers, as well as letters and photographs documenting the rise of America’s middle class and labor unions.
Barbara J. Easterling has made a major impact in whatever she touches, at the CWA, in the American Labor Movement and in the community at large. She was the first woman elected to the office of CWA Secretary-Treasurer. She was also the first woman to serve as Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, the 13-million member federation of labor unions. Throughout her career, she has been a vocal advocate for women and has distinguished herself in many charitable activities. As CWA Secretary-Treasurer, she was responsible for managing the finances, investments and physical facilities of the CWA. She served as a member of the executive committee of the Union Network International (UNI), the 17 million-member worldwide labor federation, and as President of the UNI World Women’s Committee. She has served on numerous boards including, the executive committee of the Democratic National Committee; the executive committee and the board of governors for the United Way of America; co- chair of the National Alliance to End Homelessness; chair of the Labor Advisory Committee for Israel Bonds; and Treasurer of the Board of the Yitzhak Rabin Foundation. She served on the boards of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Faith & Politics Institute and was an active member of the Spina Bifida and Pediatric AIDS foundations. She is immediate past president of the Alliance for Retired Americans.
Randi Weingarten, labor leader, attorney, and educator represents more than 1.4 million members working in healthcare, government service and education as President of the AFT. Randi is a former president of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), AFT’s New York City local affiliate, a position she held for 12 years. She holds degrees from Cornell University and the Cardozo School of Law. Known as reform-minded, she has demonstrated her commitment to improving schools, hospitals and public institutions for children, families and their communities. A dominant force in bringing public education to the forefront, she has been giving teachers a voice in education throughout her career. She is committed to making every school a place where parents want to send their children and educators want to work. During her tenure as UFT president, Randi achieved higher salaries and improved training for teachers. She serves on the board of the Yitzhak Rabin Foundation.
Terry O’Sullivan’s ability to motivate and inspire has brought LiUNA’s collective bargaining members to the forefront of the labor movement, reshaping the Union into one of the fastest growing, most aggressive and progressive in North America. Under his leadership LiUNA has established a $.25 per hour contribution that generates an estimated $100 million dollars per year toward organizing. Terry is committed to improving the skills and work opportunities of all LiUNA members. LiUNA provides one of the best skills training systems in the world, where over 100,000 LiUNA members receive training in construction and environmental remediation skills annually. O’Sullivan’s strategy for success focuses on taking care of the basics of North America – our transportation systems, energy systems, and other infrastructure, as well as improving safety and health on the job, retirement benefits, quality affordable health care, and fair and comprehensive immigration reform. An outspoken and passionate advocate leading the Union’s strong voice in government for working families, he encourages activism and grassroots politics. Terry is a longtime, vocal supporter and activist for Sinn Féin to secure peace, justice and a united Ireland. He is Chairman of D.C. Friends of Ireland and President of New York Friends of Ireland.
Cecil E. Roberts has never backed away from the struggle for dignity and justice for all working families. From the time he returned from serving his country in Vietnam and went to work in the coalmines until today, his unselfish service to working people throughout his career stands as an example for labor leaders everywhere. A sixth-generation coal miner, Roberts became President of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) in 1995, succeeding Richard L. Trumka. In 1997, Roberts was elected President of the UMWA by acclimation, the first of five successive elections where he has been so chosen. Roberts led the fight to force the federal government to “Keep the Promise” of health care for retired miners made by Harry Truman to John L. Lewis. He has negotiated four successive national agreements with the coal industry, which included winning historic 20-and-out and 30-and-out pensions for miners. Roberts is a member of the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council and Executive Committee. He serves on the Civil and Human Rights Committee; Labor and the Environment Committee; Manufacturing and Industrial Committee; Safety and Occupational Health Committee; Senior Action Committee; Strategic Approaches Committee and Political Education Committee.
J. David Cox, Sr. has devoted his life to the service of America’s veterans and the members of the American Federation of Government Employees. As National Secretary-Treasurer and then National President of AFGE, he is known for his passion for organizing and since his first term in 2006 AFGE has boosted its membership. Cox was recognized and appointed by President Obama to serve on the Federal Salary Council, representing federal employees across the country on pay and locality modifications. He was also appointed by the director of Office and Personnel Management to serve on the Federal Prevailing Rate Advisory Committee. He is vice president of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO; chairman of the Executive Committee of the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO; and chair of the AFL-CIO’s Union Veteran’s Council. In addition to his efforts on behalf of working families, Cox remains a stalwart of the well being of our nation’s veteran’s. Cox was a registered nurse for more than 20 years with the VA; served as president of AFGE Local 1738, which encompasses several North Carolina VA facilities; and was first executive vice president of the AFGE National VA Council.
Rahm Emanuel was elected the 55th mayor of Chicago on Feb. 22, 2011, and was sworn in on May 16, 2011. He served as the White House Chief of Staff in President Barack Obama’s administration. Mr. Emanuel previously served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Chicago’s 5th District. In 2007, he was elected to serve as House Democratic Caucus Chair, the fourth highest position in Democratic leadership. Prior to being elected to Congress, Mr. Emanuel served as a key member of the Clinton White House from 1993 to 1998, rising to serve as Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy. He graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and received a Master’s Degree in Speech and Communication from Northwestern University.
John Coli has been a member of the Teamsters Union since 1971. He was appointed to the Executive Board of Local 727 in 1981 and has served as Secretary-Treasurer since 1992. From 1989 to 1992, he served as a prosecutor and administrative law judge for the Illinois Secretary of State. First appointed to Joint Council 25’s Executive Board in 1997 as a Trustee, he was appointed President in 2002, with re-election in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Coli has served on the Board of the Chicago Federation of Labor since 2003. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of Amalgamated Bank in 2004 and elected to the Teamsters General Executive Board as a Central Region Vice President in 2006. In 2010, he joined the Teamsters’ National Finance Committee. He also served on President Barack Obama’s Immigration Roundtable. Mr. Coli earned his bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University and law degree from John Marshall Law School.
Peter Ward is the President of New York Hotel Trades Council, AFL-CIO, an affiliation of eight unions representing more than 30,000 hotel employees. He is Business Manager of Hotel, Restaurant & Club Employees and Bartenders Union Local 6, Recording Secretary UNITE HERE; Vice President of the New York City Central Labor Council, and Vice President of the New York State AFL-CIO. Peter has served on the Boards of several labor-business coalitions designed to help maintain tourism as a productive economic engine for New York. He is active in community and civic affairs, and has often been recognized for his efforts on behalf of others.
Eric T. Schneiderman was elected the 65th Attorney General of New York State in 2010. As the State’s highest-ranking law enforcement officer, Schneiderman has worked on areas including public integrity, economic justice, social justice and environmental protection. On behalf of everyday New Yorkers, Eric has stood up to powerful interests. He has fought for a comprehensive investigation of misconduct in the mortgage market and a fair settlement for homeowners. He supports holding banks accountable for their role in the foreclosure crisis, providing meaningful relief to homeowners and investors, and allowing a full airing of the facts to prevent abuses of this scale from happening again. Before becoming A.G., Schneiderman served in the state Senate where he passed sweeping ethics reforms, led the effort to reform the draconian Rockefeller drug laws, and enacted the toughest law in the nation to root out fraud against taxpayers.
Joe Hansen led the transformation of the 1.3 million-member UFCW into a dynamic, growth-focused movement for social and economic justice. Joe began his career as a meat cutter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and spent more than 11 years working his trade while serving as a volunteer organizer for his local union—Local 73 of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America. His passion for organizing led Hansen to become one of the youngest members of his local union’s executive board. Hansen was elected to serve as UFCW International Secretary-Treasurer in 1997 and became UFCW International President in 2004. Joe’s bold leadership in transforming the UFCW into a growth union; his collaborative work to build bridges with every union in the labor movement; his experience in global unionism; and his deep-rooted commitment to improving people’s lives by bringing them into the UFCW’s movement for social and economic justice made him one of the most staunch and influential advocates for working people in the country.
Greg Floyd represents the largest local in the 1.4 million-member International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 237. With 24,000 members, Floyd represents a diverse group of public employees in New York City and on Long Island. He has been a committed and dedicated union member since joining Teamsters Local 237 more than 25 years ago. His strong leadership abilities enabled him to advance from a hospital police officer position to the rank of captain with the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), making him the youngest hospital police captain in the HHC’s history. In 1994, he was appointed Local 237’s deputy director for peace officer titles by President Carl Haynes. In 1999, he became director of Local 237’s Citywide Division. In January 2003, Floyd was elected to serve as trustee on Local 237’s Executive Board. A year later he won election as the union’s secretary-treasurer and was also appointed chief negotiator. In March, 2007, Floyd was elected to serve as the union’s 5th president and in October, 2009 he was elected to his first full term. Floyd also serves as a trustee to the Board of New York City Employee Retirement System (NYCERS), one of the largest public pension funds in the nation, with assets of $41 billion. Additionally, Floyd is a vice president of the New York State AFL- CIO and the New York City Central Labor Council as well as secretary of the Municipal Labor Committee and the recording secretary of the Executive Board of Teamsters Joint Council 16.
Deval Patrick was re-elected to a second term as Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in November 2010. Despite a challenging economic environment, the Patrick administration maintained or expanded the state’s investment in critical growth sectors while delivering timely budgets and cutting state spending. Through targeted initiatives that play to the Commonwealth’s unique strengths like his landmark 10-year $1 billion program to promote the state’s life sciences industry, Patrick positioned the state as a global leader in biotech, bio-pharmaceuticals and IT, and as a national leader in clean energy, including making Massachusetts home to the country’s first offshore wind farm. With many Israeli managed or owned start- ups in Massachusetts, Governor Patrick was especially active in promoting trade relationships between Israel and Massachusetts. Patrick came to Massachusetts in 1970 at the age of 14. He was awarded a scholarship to Milton Academy through A Better Chance, a Boston-based organization. Governor Patrick is a graduate of Harvard College, the first in his family to attend college, and of Harvard Law School. After clerking for a federal judge, he led a successful career in the private sector as an attorney and business executive, rising to senior executive positions at Texaco and Coca-Cola. In 1994, President Clinton appointed Patrick as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, the nation’s top civil rights post.
Rich Trumka is president of the 12.5 million-member AFL-CIO, the largest organization of labor unions in the country. An outspoken advocate for social and economic justice, Trumka is a clear voice on the critical need to raise workers’ wages in the slow and painful recovery from the Great Recession. He heads the labor movement’s efforts to build broadly shared prosperity and to hold government and employers accountable to working families. Trumka is a tireless advocate for good jobs and for strengthening the middle class by restoring workers’ freedom to join and form unions. He works passionately to end unfair trade practices and support U.S. manufacturing. His innovative leadership has established investment programs for union pension and benefit funds in order to create long-term value for workers. He challenges excessive corporate power and abuses of workers’ rights here and abroad. He has confronted racism and classism head on—from apartheid in South Africa to mass incarceration and immigration reform in the United States. Trumka began his career as a coal miner, and continued to work in the mines as he attended Penn State University and Villanova University Law School. In 1982, at age 33, he ran on a reform ticket and was elected the youngest president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). There he led one of the most successful strikes in recent American history against the Pittston Coal Company, which tried to avoid paying into an industry-wide health and pension fund. Trumka joined an insurgent campaign and was elected secretary-treasurer of the AFL- CIO in 1995. He became the federation’s president in 2009.
Roger Smith joined American Income Life in 1975 and quickly rose in the company beginning as a field agent, to Executive Vice President in 1995, and President and Chief Marketing officer in 2002. Smith was named the Chief Executive officer in 2003. Under his leadership the sales force has tripled, and the home office and field teams have continued to grow and thrive achieving the fastest growing and highest margin distribution system within its parent company, Torchmark. Most notably, Smith has created a culture of giving back, building community within both the company and the larger community. The company and Smith have been recognized for their philanthropic work in a number of public service areas. Smith’s memberships on a number of boards reflect the mission and vision of building strong communities and economic justice for working families: The Alliance for Retired Americans, EHDoC (Elderly Housing Development and operations Corporation), The National Labor College, Jobs with Justice, and the Economic Policy Institute. He has advocated strongly for raising the minimum wage, protecting public employee pensions, comprehensive affordable health care and creating broad shared prosperity for workers.
Randy Cammack represents the largest regional arm of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with 150,000 Union members in 22 Local Unions encompassing a geographical area extending from Nevada and Southern California to Hawaii and Guam. As president of Teamsters JC 42, Cammack provides leadership, inspiration and problem solving in day-to-day service and organizing to these active Teamsters, plus tending to the retirement issues and legislative protections for 50,000 additional Teamster retiree families in the area. Following his United States Air Force tour of duty overseas, Cammack became a Teamster as a United Parcel Service delivery driver in the 1960’s in downtown Los Angeles. His rise in the Teamsters was meteoric and he became the chief executive officer of Local 63, one of the largest IBT UPS affiliates west of the Mississippi, where he is currently Secretary-Treasurer. With the increasing demands of his job in the west he stepped down from the long-held position of International Union Vice President in 2014 allowing him more time to focus on representational health care, California legislative and Teamster pension issues. In addition to his involvement in package delivery, Cammack is a renowned groundbreaker in collective bargaining in the highly competitive food industry. His solutions protecting Teamster food industry workers in regional contract negotiations are legendary. One of his proudest achievements is creating platforms to train and employ American service veterans in good Union jobs, especially in the construction industry.
Ken Howard was the first elected president of the Screen Actors Guild- American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), after the historic merger of the two performers unions on March 30, 2012. He previously served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild. An actor’s actor, Howard earned a formidable list of credits and several awards, including his second Emmy® in 2009 for his role in HBO’s critically acclaimed Grey Gardens. Howard also appeared as U.S. Attorney General Harlan F. Stone in the motion picture J. Edgar, in the recurring role of Hank Hooper in NBC’s award-winning primetime series 30 Rock and as Judge Warren in the motion picture The Judge. Howard was a Tony®-winning actor (Child’s Play) who made his professional debut on Broadway in 1968 and performed in nearly 40 stage productions and more than 20 feature films during his career. On television, he helped create The White Shadow, a groundbreaking series in which he starred from 1978- 1982. He had recurring roles on shows such as Dynasty and Crossing Jordan and also portrayed several U.S. presidents, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Warren G. Harding. Howard served on the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, as a trustee of The Actors Fund, and represented SAG-AFTRA as a vice president on the AFL-CIO Executive Council. Howard passed away in March 2016 at the age of 71.
Marty Walsh, a lifelong advocate for working people and a proud product of the City of Boston, was sworn in as the City’s 54th mayor on January 6, 2014. Mayor Walsh’s vision is of a thriving, healthy, and innovative Boston—a city with equality and opportunity for all. Since taking office he has worked to create good jobs, great schools, safe streets, and affordable homes, while building a more responsive, representative, and transparent city government. He has invited the people of Boston to help build a blueprint for the city’s future in Imagine Boston 2030, the first citywide planning process in half a century. Before taking office, Mayor Walsh served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1997 to 2013. Representing Boston’s diverse 13th Suffolk District, he was a leader on job creation and worker protections; addiction recovery, mental health, and homelessness; K-12 education; and civil rights. He played a key role defending Massachusetts’ pioneering stand on marriage equality. He has also been a labor leader, beginning in Laborers Local 223 in Boston and rising to head the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District from 2011 to 2013, where he worked with business and community leaders to promote high quality development and career opportunities for women and people of color. His recovery from alcoholism as a young adult led to his lifelong commitment to the prevention and treatment of addiction. And while working full-time as a legislator, he returned to school to earn a degree in Political Science at Boston College.