Al Bilik passed away peacefully on May 28. Bilik began a long and distinguished career in the American labor movement in the 1950s as an organizer for the United Auto Workers. He served as Council Director for AFSCME in Cincinnati, and later as President of the AFL-CIO Labor Council there, building bridges between the labor, anti-poverty and civil rights movements, including leading a contingent of activists to join Rev. Martin Luther King''s march on Selma. In the early 1970s, Bilik moved to Washington to serve as Director of Organizing for AFSCME and oversaw a period of significant nationwide membership growth for the union. After a stint at AFSCME''s District Council 37 in New York City in the early 1980s, he moved to Washington in 1985, where he served as President of the AFL-CIO''s Public Employee Department and later as consultant for AFSCME District Council 20. "Al''s seemingly limitless energy for living life to the fullest, and his advocacy of basic human rights on the job and elsewhere, are an inspiration to all who have known and loved him," says the Washington Post obituary. Visitation hours are Thursday, June 2 and Friday, June 3, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Joseph Gawler & Sons Funeral Home in Washington. Donations should be sent to Bread for the City and Martha''s Table in lieu of flowers.
The passing of NOVA Labor's first president, Robert McCeney, is being felt by the Virginia labor movement, reports NoVA Labor president Dan Duncan. "Bob was the first president of the Northern VA Central Labor Council and held the office for 10 years," says Duncan. "He helped build the council into a respected labor organization." As President of the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 3520 for nearly 40 years, "Brother McCeney dedicated his career to improving the lives of Virginia’s working families," said Doris Crouse-Mays, President of the Virginia AFL-CIO, where McCeney was a longtime executive board member.