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Ed O’Brien Legislative Dinner held by USW in Bethlehem

04.23.08

May 2008, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Ed O’Brien Legislative Dinner held by USW in Bethlehem

By PAUL TUCKER
theunionnewsabe@aol.com

BETHLEHEM, April 2nd- The United Steelworkers of America (USW) Union held their annual Ed O’Brien Legislative Dinner-Dance on March 29th at the Steelworkers Union Hall, Lehigh Street in Bethlehem.

Approximately 120 tickets were sold for the event, which began at 5:30 pm.

The event was attended by active and retired USW members, elected officials, political candidates, political party officials, and members of the labor community, including James Hartman, Business Manager of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 1174 in Allentown.

According to Jerry Green, President of Local 2599, and Chairman of the USW Northeastern Legislative and Education Committee, the annual dinner-dance has been held since the 1960’s and was renamed after Mr. O’Brien in 2000.

Ed O’Brien was twice the Democratic Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives 15th Legislative District.

Mr. O’Brien first joined the United Steelworkers of America Union Local 2598 in 1964, and served in many positions within the union, both locally and with the International Union.

During his remarks, Mr. O’Brien stated both Illinois Senator Barack Obama and New York Senator Hillary Clinton, are friends of labor and would be better for the working people than Senator John McCain.

“Electing McCain would be like having a third Bush term. Our nation has suffered enough. What labor must do is support either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama in the fall. No matter who you supported in the primary, we must pull together and support the Democratic party nominee, and defeat McCain,” said Mr. O’Brien.

Sam Bennett, Democratic 15th Legislative District candidate told the group Republican incumbent Representative Charlie Dent can be defeated in November.

She said Mr. Dent’s voting record shows he supports President Bush’s anti-worker agenda.

“Charlie is a nice enough guy. But, he supports Bush’s opinion on labor. Everyone here knows what that means,” said Ms. Bennett.

Pennsylvania State Representative, 116th Legislative District, Todd Eachus was Honorary Speaker and also called for “unity” after the primary elections have concluded.

Mr. Green told the newspaper the Steelworkers Union political program was expanded for the 2008 campaign. He added the union conducted a voter registration drive that resulted in 200 members signing-up to vote.

Mr. Green stated the Legislative Dinner normally is held in October but, the union advanced the date for the event to better mobilize their members for the November election.

USW Local 2599 has around 1,600 active members throughout the Lehigh Valley, which includes 20 separate contract units.

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