Labor's International Hall of Fame

Last updated 11/06/2019 - 12:15pm
Labor's International Hall of Fame Announces 2020 Inductees
11/06/2019 - 12:15pm

By Tom Schram

The Hall of Fame class of 2020 is comprised of three individuals who made their marks through leadership in specific segments of the labor movement. Award-winning actor Ralph Bellamy was a key player in organizing both film and live-stage workers. Joyce Miller was a pioneering and strong advocate for women in the workforce. And Tom Turner used the might of the nascent civil rights movement of the 1960s to create equal opportunities for minority workers.


Ralph Bellamy (1904 – 1991)

In a career that spanned 62 years in film, television and stage, Bellamy distinguished himself not only as an actor, but as an advocate for performers both in and out of the public eye. He was a dedicated founder and prominent board member of the Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles and he was president for a still-unprecedented four consecutive terms of Actors Equity in New York. At Actors Equity, he helped establish the first actors’ pension fund; and presided over the merger of Actors’ Equity and Chorus Equity and the unionization of Off-Broadway. In 1987, Bellamy received an honorary Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his body of work.


Joyce Miller (1928 – 2012)

As a founding member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) and vice-president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, Miller was an early and enthusiastic advocate for women in the workplace. Miller was named education director for the Clothing Workers in 1962, and later became vice-president of that union. In that role, she was instrumental in establishing day care, college scholarship programs and legal assistance for members. In 1974, she helped found and eventually became president of CLUW. She became the first woman elected to the executive board of the AFL-CIO in 1980.


Tom Turner (1927-2011)

In 1968, Turner, a former steelworker and then-president of the Detroit NAACP, became the first black president of the Wayne County AFL-CIO. Using that position for leverage, and with the legal backing established by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Turner was instrumental in significantly increasing membership for minorities in unionized skilled trade positions particularly in the automobile industry. He also established what became known as “The Detroit Plan” to use affirmative action to vastly expand journeyman opportunities for minority members in the Michigan building trades, setting precedents that would soon echo throughout the country. Turner served in the AFL-CIO position, marshaling its merger with Oakland and Macomb and creating the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO, for 20 years until 1988. 


The induction event will be held in Metro Detroit on Thursday, May 21, 2020.

03/05/2019 - 4:26pm

Mary Ellen Riordan was the first female president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers one of the largest local unions in the nation, totaling more than 12,000 members. She held that position for more than 20 years and was a transformative figure in guiding the union into the era of collective bargaining, three major strikes, and nationally significant Supreme Court cases involving agency fees and desegregation in public schools.

Theodore (Ted) Sachs attained national importance as a labor attorney and helped shape labor-relations standards in both the public and private sectors in the United States. Among the significant cases he argued before the Supreme Court were ones that transformed case law on the principle of one person, one vote for legislative apportionment, school desegregation and the legitimization of public employee unions.


The Induction Ceremony will be held on May 16, 2019, at the Operating Engineers Local 324 Career Center located on 1550 Howard Street in Detroit. 

03/09/2018 - 3:39pm

Labor's International Hall of Fame 2018 Induction Ceremony, honoring the legacy and memory of Larry Itliong, will be held at Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School in Union City, California on Thursday, May 17, 2018. 

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