Last October, Clean Water Action – and all who care about a safer and more just world – lost a close friend and visionary partner to cancer. Tony Mazzocchi was a leader in the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union (OCAW, which merged with the paperworkers in 1999 to form a union called PACE). He was one of the first to call attention to the injustices of an industrial system that endangers workers’ health both on the job and in the community. He believed – and acted effectively on the belief – that the path to solutions lies in building alliances between workers, environmentalists and community residents to transform conditions that ultimately threaten all of humanity. His tireless advocacy over five decades spurred creation of the modern workplace health and safety movement, sparked environmental groups’ increased emphasis on health harm from toxic chemicals, and forged labor-environmental partnerships that produced many of those movements’ most important victories … (full text).
Union Scrapper about: A Review of The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor.
He said: “We’re the only industrial nation in the world where if you strike the employer can replace you with scabs—permanently. That’s not a right to strike. That’s a right to commit suicide. (on ‘We Want to Redefine What Society Is All About’: An Interview With Tony Mazzocchi on the Birth of the Labor Party,” Z-Magazine, February 01, 1997″).
Download the audio-Interview with Les Leopold.
Tony Mazzocchi – USA (1926 – 2002)
at left/above the book – at right/down honoring Karen Silkwood
Tony Mazzocchi, A Video Tribute, 8.12 min, Nov. 13, 2007.
He said also: “When you build a big movement from down below, regardless of who’s in the White House, you can bring about change”. (on Anthony Mazzocchi, 76, Dies,” New York Times, October 9, 2000).
Anthony Mazzocchi (June 13, 1926 – October 5, 2002) was an American labor leader. He was a high elected official of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union OCAW, serving as vice president from 1977 to 1988, and as secretary-treasurer from 1988 to 1991. He was a mentor to Karen Silkwood, a co-founder of the Labor Party, and credited by President Richard Nixon as being the primary force behind enactment of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. For his efforts, he was called the “Rachel Carson of the American workplace” … (wikipedia).
And he said: Movements grow in desperate times. We are being born, (on Tony Mazzocchi, 76; Workplace Safety Advocate, Political Activist,” Los Angeles Times, October 8 2002).
Tony Mazzocchi was one of these leaders. He never sought the spotlight, always deferring to someone else to get credit and media attention – “I’m just a labor guy,” he’d tell you in his blunt Brooklyn accent. But what a labor guy! Tony’s the epitome of what labor can be, the kind of labor guy you wish was in charge of every labor union, from the locals to the internationals. Now Tony is gone – On October 5 he died of cancer at 76. This column, however, is no obituary; it’s a rallying cry. To paraphrase the last words supposedly uttered by Joe Hill: Don’t Mourn, Emulate! And, yes, organize … (full text).
And then he said: “There is a dawn approaching that is indicating and shouting to us that it’s our moment. But we’ve got to seize that moment and use what we know so well—how to organize and, fundamentally, how to fight!”. (on The Rank and File Union).
Conference commemorates Karen Silkwood, ILR Press reissues book. Tony Mazzocchi, assistant to the executive vice president of Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE), speaks at the “Commemoration of a Critical Struggle – Karen Silkwood in Retrospect,” April 26 in the Statler Hotel’s Terrace Lounge. Mazzocchi was a colleague of Silkwood’s, May 4, 2000.
Congratulations to Occupational Health & Safety Awardees – winners of the Toni Mazzocchi-Award.
Tony Mazzocchi saw this trajectory in development. He had worked effectively within the Great Society ethos to propel worker safety and public health concerns into national policy. Les Leopold’s biography of Tony tells the story well. The excerpt from the book which follows is about Tony’s evolving electoral focus and his growing commitment to creating a party of and for working people to contest the two corporate parties. Tony recognized the writing on the wall as political discourse transitioned from ridiculing Reagan’s voodoo economics (George Bush Sr.’s phrase) to Clintonesque regard for it as “revelation” of free market verities. And this, of course, through the magic dust of false premises, phony data, and seriously diminished active concern for people’s lives as a bottom-line evaluation of societal health … (full text).
Military Voices In Opposition the War: Nancy and Charley live in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Charley is the director of the Labor Extension Program at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell; Nancy works for the United Steelworkers/Tony Mazzocchi Center for Safety, Health and Environmental Education, 11 May 2007.
At 16 Tony dropped out of school and lied about his age to enlist in World War II, fighting three combat campaigns and ending up at Buchenwald just as it was getting liberated, giving his young mind a horrifying lesson in the human capacity for inhumanity. Back home Mazzocchi went to technical school on the GI Bill, after which he worked several jobs before landing at a Helena Rubenstein plant on Long Island, making cosmetics. Most of the workers there were women, who got less pay than the men and were the first to go in layoffs, regardless of seniority. So in 1953 he ran for president of the local union on a pledge of equal pay and equal treatment. Elected at 26, he not only delivered on that pledge but he built union loyalty by negotiating a health plan, including the first-ever dental insurance coverage in private industry … (full text).
… In 1957, he was elected International Executive Board member of OCAW District 8, serving until his appointment as the International union’s Citizenship-Legislative Director in 1965. He led the legislative struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, played key roles in the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and in the civil rights movement. After the death of OCAW member Karen Silkwood, with whom he worked on health and safety issues at the Kerr-McGee nuclear facility in Oklahoma, Mazzocchi made public the truth about her case. Mazzocchi also set up an innovative internship program for medical and public health students to experience conditions in the workplace firsthand and assist in formulating remedies. He was elected OCAW Vice-President in 1977 and was in charge of the union’s programs in health and safety, atomic energy, and organizing. From 1979 to 1981 he served as Health and Safety Director. After running for OCAW President in 1979 and 1981, losing by less than one percent each time, he returned in 1982 to participate as a rank-and-file member of Local 8-149 and District 8 Council. In 1988, Mazzocchi was elected OCAW Secretary-Treasurer and served through 1991 when he declined to run for another term. He established the Alice Hamilton College, a school-without-walls dedicated to the educational needs of union members, and published New Solutions, a journal of environmental and occupational health policy. In 1991, he and other trade union activists formed Labor Party Advocates, a nationwide effort to organize a political alternative for working people. As a result of this effort, the Labor Party was founded in 1996, and Mazzocchi was appointed its National Organizer. Tony Mazzocchi spoke at hundreds of union halls around the country, hammering home the message of a truly independent class politics. His tireless advocacy and leadership helped forge the campaigns for just health care, free higher education, and workers rights, that are central to the goals of the Labor Party. (full text).
Center for Study of Working Class Life, upcoming events;
Notes on the 2008 Labor Notes Conference, April 16, 2008.