This past Saturday we acknowledged Harry’s birthday and paused to thank him for all that he accomplished for the members of Local 3. It wasn’t easy - his adversaries were the gangsters and the communists who attempted to take over Local 3 back in the 1930's and 40's. He and his associates prevailed, thankfully, and we are the beneficiaries. He taught us that “Eternal vigilance is the price of good unionism”.
His commitment to education was clear when he said in 1939, “There are many pressing problems facing the working men and women of this country today and present indications are that the problems will increase. If these problems are to be solved properly, the workers must find the solutions themselves. In order to do this, they must know how to study, analyze, discuss, introduce and put into effect the remedies..." Hence all the educational benefits we enjoy today.
He passed out cards urging people to “Be kind, everyone is putting up a hard fight”. And as he neared the end of his life he posed a question to all he interacted with - When are people going to join the human race?
His accomplishments on behalf of working men and women were carried on by his son, Thomas Van Arsdale, and I am blessed to have the opportunity to continue his legacy, living everyday what he ingrained in me, that the only purpose of the union is to serve the members. God Bless Harry Van Arsdale Jr. and God Bless Local 3.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!