At this year’s CWA National Convention, held last month in Las Vegas, NV, a new award was named and given to several New Jersey locals in recognition of their organizing efforts: “The Morton Bahr CWA STRONG Award,” named for CWA President Emeritus Morty Bahr. Several hours later, Convention attendees received the sad news that Morty had passed away at the age of 93.
Morty, a Brooklyn native who began his career as a telegraph operator, joined CWA in 1951 and was elected CWA President in 1985. He served in that position for 20 years and led CWA during some of the most turbulent years of the communications industry, helping lead the union as powerful force. His vision ensured that the union would continue as an advocate for working men and women long into the future, across communications, information technology, and other sectors.
Following his retirement in 2005, Morty was named CWA President Emeritus, and remained active in supporting CWA members and fighting for the rights of workers.
During this year’s CWA Convention, President Chris Shelton paid tribute to Morty, noting that “not only CWA members, but the entire labor movement, lost a giant. Morty was comfortable whether he was in the company of Presidents of the United States, in the halls of Congress, or on a picket line. He was not only a great president but he was a member's president. Morty loved fighting alongside members in organizing drives and on the picket line almost more than anything that he did as president of this union. He will be sorely missed."
You can read more about Morty’s life and career with CWA here.
Bahr (front, middle) successfully led CWA through the turbulent technological and structural revolution that transformed telecommunications, and made the union a powerful force for working people.