About My Father - Albin - Who has passed away - So proud of you Dad - Greatest Labor Leader Ever
The following is about my beloved father Albin J. Gruhn who passed away at the age of 94 years young. I Love You Dad and I am missing you so much! Robert
When Albin Gruhn got his card from the loggers union in 1934 after starting work for a Humboldt County lumber company, he never suspected that he was beginning what would become a lifelong career in California's labor movement. He went straight from high school to the lumber mills of Hammond Lumber Co. in Samoa and became a member of the Lumber and Sawmill Workers Union. A year later, in 1935, Mr. Gruhn was swept up in a bloody strike over poor working conditions that resulted in the deaths of three union workers.
He spent 36 years as President of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, helping build the organization into a political and social powerhouse in the state.
"Few can match Al Gruhn's devotion to working men and women," said Art Pulaski, labor federation's executive secretary-treasurer. "Driven by his passion for justice in the workplace, Al's career has been an inspiration for all of us. He never backed down from a fight."
He was blacklisted by the lumber companies and joined the Laborers' Union, becoming secretary of the Eureka Federated Trades and Labor Council at the age of 22. In 1940, he was elected district vice president of the state labor federation and took over as the organization's President in 1960. He held that job until his retirement in 1996.
In 1972 he became a founding officer, and ultimately president emeritus, of the Consumer Federation of California.
"Al was a great pioneer of the consumer movement in California," said Jim Gordon, the federation's president. "Al Gruhn always had the interests of consumers and working people in his heart. He built bridges between the consumer movement and our allies in organized labor and in the community."
Mr. Gruhn served on a number of state and local commissions, accepting appointments from Govs. Earl Warren, Goodwin Knight, Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, George Deukmejian and Jerry Brown. He was a member from 1964 to 1971 of the California Constitution Revision Commission.
"The union movement was the cause of his life,"
Mr. Gruhn's son Robert said when his father retired at age 81, speakers at his retirement dinner included the Rev. Jesse Jackson, then-Lt. Gov. Gray Davis and current U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, who called Mr. Gruhn her "godfather" for his career advice.
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Copyright © Robert Gruhn | Year Posted 2014
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