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Union Democracy Review



The Association for Union Democracy for a strong labor movement

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In Memoriam:

Henry Zeiger, Ex-NYC taxi driver, staunch workers advocate

Henry Zeiger, former AUD staff person and coordinator of our Workers Rights Project for several years, passed away late last year. AUD welcomes donations in memory of Henry's dedication to AUD and to workers rights in general. (Memories and reflections by Henry's friends and coworkers.)

Jerry Crowley, Teamster Rebel

By Dave Robbins and Arthur Doty (members IBT Local 25)
[from Union Democracy Review #157, July/Aug 2005]

Jerry Crowley died of a heart attack on July 5. He fought to strengthen and democratize Boston Teamsters Local 82 for many years. In 1980, Jerry and other local members realized that the needs of the rank and file were ignored. They paid dues for years and still shaped up for work without obtaining seniority. Local 82 officers raked in big salaries, enjoyed cushy benefits, drove top-of-the-line cars, and told members “they were lucky to be working.”

At the November 1980 nominations meeting, Jerry and other dissenters were excluded from the hall. While they waited outside, the incumbent principal officer declared himself unopposed and reelected. After the union denied their election protest, they filed suit in federal court, represented by TDU attorneys Mark Stern, Kurt Pressman, and Benjie Hiller. They won in the lower courts. However, in Local 82 v. Crowley, the U. S. Supreme reversed the lower courts on a technicality. Nevertheless, the case did help rank and file unionists nationwide, because the Court, in its finding, did clarify and expand the right of complainants to seek recourse in union pre-election cases. Jerry ran for office in the late 1980s, but was defeated through a series of dirty tricks.

Crowley worked as a furniture mover at C. Walsh Movers in Boston. In the early 1990s, it closed its doors, soon reopened as Walsh Movers, hired new employees without regard to seniority, and signed a new contract with Local 82. Crowley and other hard-working union members were effectively blacklisted. Crowley went to college, earned a degree, and embarked upon a new career as drug and alcohol counselor.

He was a humanist, a passionate fighter for the underdog, and a wonderful person to know. We are certain that he would have wanted contributions in his memory to the Association for Union Democracy.

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