Today, we in the labor movement are saddened upon the passing of Larry Spitz, Emeritus member of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR). Larry passed away on Friday, December 5, 2008
Below is a short “Bio” of Larry published in the “SOAR Executive Board Connection” newsletter in February, 2006.
Larry Spitz, Emeritus
Larry Spitz was one of the early organizers of the labor movement in New England. In 1933 he went to work as an organizer for the United Textile Workers of America. In 1936 he participated actively in the New England area in the formation of the Committee of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and was appointed by John L. Lewis to a three man committee which headed the organizational drive of the CIO in the State of Rhode Island.
During the years 1943 to 1946 he served in the United States Army participating in the Philippine campaign. Upon his return to the United States in 1946, he was appointed by Philip Murray as Sub-District Director of the United Steelworkers of America in Providence, Rhode Island and occupied that position for 19 years.
In 1965, Larry became the Director of the Wage Division of the United Steelworkers of America and moved to Pittsburgh, PA. In November, 1966, he left the Steelworkers and became Executive Director of Community Progress, Inc. in New Haven, Conn.
Upon his return to the Steelworkers in 1968, he worked as the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary-Treasurer and on special assignments from the President of that organization. He has represented the Steelworkers at a number of International Labor Conferences in Europe and the Caribbean area, has been a guest lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, and was on the faculty for specialized programs of the Rutgers University Extension Division.
He is listed in “Who’s Who in the East” and was awarded an honorary degree (Doctor of Laws) by Brown University in 1976.
In 1976 he retired to Sun City, AZ and with help from his close friends, I.W. Abel and Walter Burke, organized 13 Union Club chapters with over 7,000 members, giving voice to union retirees and forming a strong support group for the Labor Movement.
In 2000, Larry was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. He continues to be very involved with our SOAR organization and is always fighting for the rights of working families and retirees.
Note: Larry Spitz would have been 97 years old on February 19, 2009