This dinner celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of the Laborers' International Union of America.
November 2003 - Answering the call to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the Laborers' International Union of America (LIUNA) were nearly 300 members and friends of organized labor at the annual Union Hall of Honor Awards Dinner on October 19, 2003. They were richly rewarded by a powerful address by LIUNA's General President, Terence O'Sullivan. The event was held in Countryside, Illinois at the banquet facilities of Operating Engineers Local 150.
O'Sullivan paid full tribute to the sacrifices made by the forbearers of LIUNA. At the same time he reminded his audience that as a result of the erosion of America's industrial economy, union membership has fallen to approximate levels of half a century ago. He made it clear that LIUNA will be in the forefront of the effort to reverse this trend.
The event opened with a performance of "With These Hands" by Mike Matejka, a member of the Bloomington local union of LIUNA. Enacted by four of the union's working members, it recounted the story of the union from its founding in 1903. At that time, three quarters of the delegates came from Chicago.
The show was accompanied by the Bound for Glory musical group, also from Bloomington.
A handsome plaque inscribed to Herman Lilien, the first president of the new union, then called the Hod Carriers' and Building Laborers' Union, was presented to LIUNA's Midwest Regional Manager, Ed Smith of Springfield. A plaque inscribed to Peter Fosco, LIUNA's General President was presented by Secretary Treasurer, Tim Leahy of the Chicago Federation of Labor. LIUNA Great Lakes Manager, Terrence Healey accepted.
A special Making Labor History Award was presented to Local One of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees for their inspiring contract campaign of last year, and the ongoing struggle to win a similar agreement with the hold out Congress Plaza Hotel. ILHS Chairman. Dick Stanton made the presentation to the committee of Congress Hotel strikers led by Dan Miller of HERE.
As a concluding presentation it was announced from the podium that the Illinois Labor History Society would be awarded a gift in the amount of $5,000 from LIUNA!
The evening concluded with Solidarity, labor's anthem.