A. Hayes (deceased)
United Food & Commercial Workers
Charlie Hayes was the first trade unionist ever elected to Congress.
He served five terms, from 1983 to 1993. He represented one of the poorest
districts in the nation, the southside of Chicago. His predecessor, Harold
Washington, became Chicago's first elected black mayor in a bitter 1983
campaign, a close race where Hayes lobbied, cajoled and raised a lot of
union money, mobilized thousands of labor volunteers and rallied scores
of union voters for Washington's landmark victory. Often Congressman Hayes
was the "voice of conscience." He passionately urged his colleagues
in Congress to spare federal job training and anti-poverty programs, while
warning CBTU members not to get complacent. Congressman Hayes was a prolific
union man for 45 years. In the 1950s, he raised funds that fueled Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s voter registration drive in the South. Later,
he was one of major labor leaders arrested during the 1980s anti-apartheid
protests that eventually won the freedom of Nelson Mandela. Congressman
Hayes was CBTU's first executive vice president, serving until 1986. He
died in April,1997. The Charles A. Hayes Labor, Cultural and Community
Center in Chicago, Illinois, is named in honor of this distinguished "statesman
for the people."