Joe Uehlein Biography
Joe Uehlein: Founding President of the Labor Network for Sustainability, and Voices for a Sustainable Future, and Founding President of the Labor Heritage foundation. Joe is the former secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO’s Industrial Union Department and former director of the AFL-CIO Center for Strategic Campaigns. Joe spent over 40 years doing organizing, bargaining, and strategic campaign work in the labor movement, while also living his life at the confluence of art and activism, and deeply immersed in the environmental movement and especially the climate change movement. Joe also served as the Secretary to the North American Coordinating Committee of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, and Mine Workers unions (ICEM). Joe also served on the United Nations commission on global warming from its inception in 1988 through the Kyoto Accords in 1997 until 2003. Joe is a founding board member of Ceres (Coalition for Environmentally responsible Economies), and served on the Ceres board for 23 years. Joe is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and served as a senior strategic advisor to the Blue Green Alliance for five years. Joe is a current board member of USCAN, the US Climate Action Network. In the early 1970’s he worked in an aluminum mill in Mechanicsburg, PA as a member of the United Steelworkers of America, and then on heavy and highway construction projects in Central Pennsylvania as a member of the Laborer’s International Union of North America. He also serves on the advisory board of the Future of Music Coalition. Joe is a musician, and a 53-year member of the American Federation of Musicians. Joe was the organizer of the first ever AFL-CIO Arts & Activism Award, and assisted in the Organizing of the Tell Us The Truth Tour in 2003.
Joe was a chief architect of the famous Ravenswood Campaign, designed to track down and pressure Marc Rich, the largest metals trader in the world and fugitive from US justice, to end a vicious management lockout of the workers (union-busting) at an aluminum mill owned by Mr. Rich in Ravenswood, West Virginia. The campaign was waged on five continents in 22 countries for nearly two years. A complete victory resulted in the firing of management, and restored all locked-out workers to their jobs with a good union contract.
Joe was also a chief organizer of the labor component of the massive anti-corporate globalization demonstrations against the WTO in Seattle, WA on November 30, 1999. The WTO’s (World Trade Organization) first meeting on US soil could not be held due to the demonstrations – a great victory, and a powerful coming together of progressive forces who believe that globalization should serve humanity, not corporate interests.
Joe is also a musician and bandleader. The ULiNERS are a DC-based Americana roots rock band now celebrating 16 years together. The band plays a wide variety of Americana roots music with a strong specialty in songs that have something to say about the world around us (labor, environmentalism, human rights and social and economic justice). His deep interest in the culture of the working class, growing up in steel communities along the banks of the great Lake Erie, motivated him to help found the Labor Heritage Foundation (LHF) in 1980. The LHF is a working class arts organization dedicated to raising awareness of working class issues through the arts – using cultural tools, like art and music, to help with organizing, bargaining, mobilization and education, and union building. The LHF also maintains a network of artists whose art form has a working class thematic.
Hear The Movement
“None of Us Are Free“
From D.C. Labor Chorus:
written by Brenda Russell but made famous by Ray Charles
America’s Working Heroes
Words & Music by Rich Daniels & Victoria Shaw
© 2002 BigCitiMan Music (BMI) / Norma Desmond Music and Ruby Dooby Tunes (SESAC), admin. by Sony ATV, LLC.
We Were There
Words and Music by Bev Grant
Performed by Bev Grant and the Brooklyn Womens Chorus
A Union of People
Words & Music by Christopher Lay
© 2002 Ludicrous Lay Music Inc. (ASCAP)
Joe Hill Award
The Joe Hill Award honors leaders and artists who have contributed to the successful integration of arts and culture in the labor movement. Every year at the Great Labor Arts Exchange, the Labor Heritage Foundation gives the award to individuals based on their dedication, participation, and promotion of labor, labor arts, culture, organizing, and/or history.
The Labor Heritage Foundation has presented this annual lifetime achievement award for work in the field of labor culture since 1989.
Julius Margolin: 1916-2009
Activist, Artist, Organizer, and Inspiration
Our hearts and spirits go out to the family and friends of our friend, hero, and champion Julius Margolin, our comrade in the struggle for equity and fairness for America’s working people, particularly, and to all of America and our global community.Peace and blessings, to George Mann his long time friend and collaborator (fellow conspirator in equality), the Margolin family, and all of us whose lives have been forever changed, challenged, and inspired because of his life. He lives in spirit within each of us who know him…
“Even Now Don’t Morn, ORGANIZE…”
In Memory of Julius Margolin
by: Darryl! L.C. Moch
He has been a strong advocate for youth involvement in the movement to promote the next generation and wave of activists and fighters. He was always an ardent supporter of the arts and culture of the labor movement. He was the consummate creative organizer. His light, love, energy, and spirit will be missed in the physical world but to be sure he will continue to fight on our behalf now and forever.He was a friend, and a leader, and will be missed.**[to the tune of Joe Hill]“From New York City, DC and beyondIn streets and union hallsWhere workers and youth stand for what’s rightIt’s there you will find MorgolinIt’s there you will find Margolin””I dreamed I heard Julius sing outchallenging the “right” and wrongsI says, ‘but Julius, they said your gone'”I never died” says he,”I never died” says he.**Just then he reached out and touched my mouth with is pointed frail finger, he says “keep working, you do good work and we need you don’t give up.” I said, through held back tears “You will never die, Julius,never die, my friend.”And with that he smiled and turned and walked away singing as he always did..”Solidarity Forever…solidarity…..” I watched as long as I could until there was just a faint glimmer, then I turned to go back and work…he’ll never die, because he lives through us.
The Julius Margolin Youth in Labor Scholarship
The Julius Margolin Youth in Labor Scholarship fund was created to help bring young union activists and artists to the Great Labor Arts Exchange/Conference on Creative Organizing and to the Western Workers labor Heritage Festival annually. We aim to award at least two scholarships up to $500.