Harry in the Media

By Thomas Hedges, Center for Study of Responsive Law | Feb 5, 2013

Longtime labor activist Harry Kelber will oppose incumbent Richard Trumka for the presidency of the AFL-CIO at the group’s convention in Los Angeles in September. Kelber feels an obligation to challenge a president who, he says, is pursuing wealth and prestige rather than the true ideals of labor activism.

Kelber contends that under Trumka’s leadership, the AFL-CIO has failed to address the mounting threat against labor in the United States from the loss of bargaining rights to the refusal to adjust minimum wage standards to the push… Continue reading

Labor News | October 5. 2012

Harry Kelber, editor of The Labor Educator, received the prestigious George J. Kourpias Award for Excellence in Labor Journalism at the union’s 38th convention in Los Angeles on
Sept. 9-14.

Mr. Kourpias, who was I.A.M. president from 1989 to 1997, began his career as a young machinist in Sioux City, Iowa in 1952. He is especially noted for his leadership as President of the Alliance for Retired Americans, representing more than three million members, with a mission to "support public policy that protects the health and economic security of the country’s senior citizens."

Brother… Continue reading

by Ralph Nader | August 30, 2012 | Common Dreams
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Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book – and first novel – is, Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us. His most recent work of non-fiction is The Seventeen Traditions.

"Why should I listen to anything Harry Kelber says?" exclaimed a visibly indignant Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO.

Maybe because Kelber, 98 years young, has been honestly fighting for labor rights as a worker, union organizer, pamphleteer, author, professor and overall hairshirt of the moribund organized labor movement for 78 years –… Continue reading

98-year-old Brooklyn Heights man runs for president of nation’s largest labor group

By Danielle Furfaro | July 30, 2012 | The Brooklyn Paper

On his 98th birthday, professional rabble-rouser and Brooklyn Heights resident Harry Kelber announced he will run for president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. No, not the local chapter of the nation’s largest labor group — the activist born during the Wilson administration wants to be in charge of the entire 11-million worker organization, better known as the AFL-CIO. The Brooklyn Paper’s Danielle Furfaro visited Kelber and talked about his campaign, his… Continue reading

Unlikely bid for organization’s top office to emphasize transparency

By Sarah Freishtat | The Washington Times | Thursday, July 19, 2012
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When Harry Kelber announced his intention to run for president next year of the nation’s largest labor organization, he carefully planned his campaign message. But he also had something else to plan — his 98th birthday party.

Mr. Kelber, a longtime labor activist from Brooklyn Heights, N.Y., and outspoken critic of the AFL-CIO, announced his candidacy late last month on the day he turned 98. He will be 99 when he formally challenges AFL-CIO President Richard L.… Continue reading

Corporate Crime Reporter | June 20, 2012

Harry Kelber will challenge Richard Trumka for the presidency of the AFL-CIO at the labor union’s convention September 8-12, 2013 in Los Angeles. Remember Harry Kelber? He’s a labor activist and writer who runs The Labor Educator. Every week, Kelber eviscerates the leaders of the AFL-CIO for not actively challenging the corrupt corporate establishment in Washington, for paying 131 of its executives more than $100,000 a year, and for censoring any criticism of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In an interview with Corporate Crime Reporter last year, Kelber said that Trumka was… Continue reading

BY CARL GINSBURG | National Nurse | May 2012
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From his perch high up on Brooklyn Height’s north bank, Harry Kelber can see across New York Harbor at all of Wall Street, its skyscrapers stacked in jagged outline. "They are dominating our country. The government is subservient to Wall Street," said Kelber, never one to pull punches. ‘We need a settlement to make up for what was taken. They are getting away with murder:’

Harry Kelber National Nurses United

Harry Kelber at his Brooklyn home. Photo from the National Nurses United magazine

On June 20, Harry Kelber turns 98. With remarkable… Continue reading

By Josh Eidelson | The Nation | April 30, 2012

Over eight decades in the labor movement, Harry Kelber has been a rank-and-file union leader, an author and an academic. At 25, he edited two weekly labor newspapers. At 57, he helped found a labor college at Empire State College. At 81, he ran for AFL-CIO vice president. Now 97, he writes three columns a week for his website, The Labor Educator. The Nation talked to Kelber about his experience of the labor movement’s past, his critique of its present and what he sees in its future. What follows is… Continue reading

By Matthew Rothschild | The Progressive | April 7, 2012

Harry reciting his poem at the Labor Notes conference May 2006

I’d like you to meet a great labor activist.

His name is Harry Kelber. He’s 97. "I’ll be 98 in June," he tells me.

Harry Kelber’s parents came over from Russia. "They didn’t speak much English," he said. In fact, he ended up teaching them.

When he was nineteen, he organized his first union at a Brooklyn food market.

In his twenties, he edited weekly labor newspapers and rallied support for the CIO.

He continued to work as a… Continue reading

By Matthew Rothschild, Editor | The Progressive | April 6, 2012

Matthew Rothschild, Editor of The Progressive

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Corporate Crime Reporter | June 28, 2011

At one time, Harry Kelber — who just turned 97 last week — was a conservative.

But that was in high school.

"Thomas Jefferson High School in New York City – one of the finest high schools at that time in the city," Kelber told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview last week.

"I was a conservative in high school," Kelber said. "I believed that capitalism was a wonderful thing because it gave everyone an opportunity."

"I believed that the Communists were just vengeful. They were just sorry that they couldn’t make it."… Continue reading

By Harry Kelber | The Newspaper Guild – Communications Workers of America | March 11, 2011

For more than 30 years, well-meaning, savvy trade unionists have offered proposals to revive an ailing and declining AFL-CIO–to no avail. All the plans that were presented at well-attended conferences, all the articles that were written and widely distributed, all the resolutions that were debated and approved, failed to change the Federation as the citadel of labor conservatism and guardian of the status quo.

So on March 4-5 a gathering of 96 self-selected union leaders and activists from 23 states met in Cleveland "to… Continue reading

Harry Kelber, a labor educator and journalist was prevented from running as a candidate for the AFL-CIO 2009 Executive Board election. Although there are 43 spots available no other candidates have even sought to get elected. In order to prevent Harry from running as he did at the last election the rules have been changed illegally to violate the constitution.For more information about Kelber go to www.laboreducator.org

Steve Zeltzer interviews Harry Kelber


Labor organizer-activist Harry Kelber in his Brooklyn Heights home. (Noonan for News )

It took me most of a morning to figure out what to write about Harry Kelber.

I couldn’t figure out where to start.

Even just listing the highlights of the highlights of Kelber’s career could run to book length.

Let’s start here: Kelber, 94, has been a labor organizer and activist for more than 70 years. During that time he:

Was active in the 1962-1963 strike that shut down daily newspapers in New York City… Continue reading

By Mike Griffin | Counterpunch | February 18, 2004

As a rank and file trade unionist for more than 37 years, I have born witness to events perpetrated by our so-called leaders that range from amazingly corrupt to outlandishly stupid; but the attack on a ninety year old elder statesman is proof that no matter how low you can believe they will stoop, we continue to underestimate their resolve to find the ultimate depth. If the realm somewhere between slug slime and pond scum comes to mind, we are on a parallel thought path. The removal of DR. Harry Kelber… Continue reading

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