Banquet honors Alabama luminaries of organized labor

Banquet honors Alabama luminaries of organized labor
Tony Quillen, 2019 Labor Person of the Year at the Alabama Organized Labor Awards Foundation. (contributed)

For three decades, the Alabama Organized Labor Awards Foundation (AOLAF) has been ensuring that the contributions of working people to the well-being of the state are recognized. On Saturday, Aug. 3, the organization celebrated its latest group of honorees.

“The foundation was established to promote the cause of organized labor in Alabama and to honor members of labor who have distinguished themselves through unselfish service and leadership to the working people of Alabama,” said David Clark, AOLAF chairman.

Honored as the 2019 Labor Person of the Year was Tony Quillen, business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 558 in Sheffield. He was named to that position in 2018 after serving in a variety of leadership roles for the local since 2009.

Inducted to the Hall of Fame (Posthumous) was Bobby Hamner, a journeyman electrician and master welder with IBEW Local 136 who died unexpectedly in 2017. Hamner had spent 41 of his 60 years serving the IBEW, including seven terms on the Local 136 executive board.

Inducted to the Hall of Fame was Richard G. Youngblood, who retired this year from U.S. Steel United Steelworkers Local 1013. During his long career, Youngblood served in various officer positions in his unions, most recently as recording secretary of the Central Alabama Labor Federation in Jefferson County.

Receiving the 2019 Friend of Labor award was Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite, who built upon his company’s tradition by establishing one of the strongest labor-management partnerships in the country. About 40 percent of Alabama Power employees are members of the IBEW and the company is committed to partnering with the North America’s Building Trades Unions to contract workers to construct and maintain its facilities in an effort to foster workforce development opportunities within the state.

During the awards banquet, the foundation also presented more than $25,000 in trade and academic scholarships to students from across Alabama.

AOLAF’s goal is to preserve the history of the labor movement in Alabama and memorialize its impact on the state.

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