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Ben Stahl

1915 - 1998

Ben Stahl died on October 25, 1998, at the age of 82. He directed the organizing drive of AFL-CIO for collective bargaining rights for Philadelphia teachers (1962 to 1965) which resulted in an election victory Feb.1, 1965, creating the largest local union in the state.

Active in the civil rights movement, he was appointed by Mayor Wilson Goode to the Phila. Commission on Human Relations. He served as Treasurer of the Fellowship Commission, Chairman of the Council on Equal Job Opportunity, member of the Pennsylvania Advisory Council to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and local Vice-Chair and national Board member of the Jewish Labor Committee. He served on JCRC's Domestic Affairs Commission, and on the Boards of Negro Trade Union Leadership Council, which he helped establish, the A.Philip Randolph Institute and the American Jewish Committee. He was Secretary and consultant for the Phila. AFL-CIO's Human Rights Committee in the 60’s, which had a significant impact on the local scene. He worked closely with the student movement of that period, participating in the first Phila. sit-in against discrimination at Horn & Hardart's as well as in the Woolworth picket lines. He took part in the 1963 March on Washington and in its 1983 20th anniversary.

Ben served as Chair of the Phila. Advisory Council on Vocational Education and as a member of the Penna. Advisory Committee, as well as on the Boards of Phila. Urban Coalition, Jewish Employment & Vocational Service, Offender Aid and Restoration, and on United Way committees and various Department of Labor committees. In other community work, he served on the Boards of People's Emergency Center, Phila. Unemployment Project, and as a charter member of Penna. Labor History Society and the Sylvis Society. He retained union membership in the Phila. Federation of Teachers, Workers Education Local 189 CWA and was Vice-President and editor for the 6,000 member PFT Retirement Chapter.

Ben Stahl's first job after coming out of Central High, Gratz College and Temple University was as a teacher in the Workers Education Project of the W.P.A. At age 22, he became Secretary of the WPA teachers AFT local of 1,000 members. In 1943 he joined national CIO staff as field representative in the Delaware Regional Office and remained with national CIO and – after the 1955 merger – AFL-CIO until retirement in 1982, except for a break of three years (1959-62) when he served as Philadelphia area Regional Director of Jewish Labor Committee and coordinated the School District of Philadelphia's unique workers' education program. His union activities took him throughout the country, organizing, negotiating , servicing unions and central labor bodies, and working on job training and community and public relations. For his last 13 years he served as Mid-Atlantic and West Coast Regional Director of AFL-CIO's Human Resources Development Institute, its employment and training program.

He is survived by his wife, Evelyn Miller Stahl, two sons, Dr. Gerry Stahl and Dr. Alan Stahl, and two grandsons, Zake and Rusty.

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This page last modified on January 05, 2004