Retirees Recall Years
Working for ‘Best
Union In the Country’
Pictured at a June 14
luncheon meeting are, front row, Ray Klausner, Fannie Isquith, Lillian
Rosenberg Lifflander; back row, Nathan Spero, Ruth Schaffer, Phyllis
Lewis, Bob Lewis and Alfred Ellis. Not present: Jim Lerner.
Their formal connection with UE long past, several retired
National office staff members here still see each other at birthday luncheons,
where they have a chance to reflect on their many decades of service to the
union. The retirees include:
came to UE in 1937 and officially retired in December 1977, but went on
working part-time when called upon by the union. She was secretary to Genl.
Pres. Albert J. Fitzgerald and Genl. Sec.-Treas. Julius Emspak,
and to Directors of Organization Bob Kirkwood and Hugh Harley.
Upon retirement she took up wood sculpture; a file of her work is in the
archives of the Women’s Museum in Washington, D.C.
who worked for UE for 28 years. Much of that time she was the secretary in
the Publicity Dept., working with Bill Cahn, UE NEWS Editor Tom
Wright, (reporter and later editor) Jim Lerner, cartoonist Fred
Wright and writers Harriet Beecher and Betty Goldstein
(better known as Betty Friedan). She later served as the New York secretary
for UE Legislative Representative Russ Nixon, who was based in
Washington. Since her retirement she’s enjoyed a career as dancer and
Lillian Rosenberg Lifflander
worked in the UE Research Dept. from 1941-1951; she’s now a community
was UE research director for 39 years, from 1944-1983. During those years he
was the co-chair of the 13-union joint committee on pensions and insurance
in negotiations with General Electric and Westinghouse, editor of the annual
UE Officers’ Report (from 1951-1982) and was responsible for
pre-convention assembly and editing of convention resolutions. Currently he
is a part-time instructor at the Manhattan branch of Queens College,
teaching labor history and math.
was a UE organizer in central Pennsylvania between 1951 and 1956, where he
fought the never-ending raids on UE locals by AFL and CIO unions.
had been with the UE NEWS for more than 43 years when he retired in
1983. At the time of his retirement, the Columbia Journalism Review
said of the paper: "It reflects an extraordinary tough union that draws
its strength from a them against us sensibility."
worked in the UE Legal Dept. for 30 years (1957-1987), first as staff
counsel, later as UE general counsel.
worked in the UE Legal Dept. from 1948 to the mid-Fifites; called back, she
worked off and on until the National office moved to Pittsburgh in 1987. UE
is important to Phyllis and Bob because they met there; they celebrated
anniversary in 1998. "We love UE and read the UE NEWS
avidly," Phyllis says. "It’s still the best union in the country
— if not the world!"
came to work for UE in May 1969 and retired
22 years later, in June 1991. She worked first as a switchboard operator and
then with Nat Spero in Research. She later served as an executive secretary
to Dir. of Org. Harley and General Presidents Denis Glavin and James
Kane. "I am enjoying my retirement by enhancing my cultural life by
volunteering at the Lincoln Center Philharmonic Symphony and the Jewish
Museum and by meeting with UE retirees," Ruth says.
"The luncheon gatherings of retired UE staff members
reflect the friendships built over decades of ‘good times’ and ‘hard
times’ in the union’s life," comments Jim Lerner. "To me, our
modest luncheons are a reminder of the days we fought together to keep the
UE News - 12/99