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Labor Party National Organizer: Tony Mazzocchi

Tony Mazzocchi served as President of Local 8-149 and as International Executive Board member, Legislative Director, Health and Safety Director, Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer of the former Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union (OCAW). The OCAW is now the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE). Mazzocchi has played a key role in the occupational and environmental health movements and the struggle for workers rights.

Mazzocchi was a combat soldier in three World War II campaigns. After the war, he worked as an auto worker, steelworker and in the construction trades. He served as President of OCAW Local 8-149 from 1953 to 1965. As President, he won a number of firsts, including the first dental insurance program in private industry. Mazzocchi successfully amalgamated his local, conducted organizing, negotiated with over 25 diversified corporations, and led numerous strikes and corporate campaigns. He served as Vice-President of the Nassau-Suffolk CIO Council from 1952 to 1955, and the Long Island Federation of Labor from 1955 to 1973.

In 1957, he was elected International Executive Board member of OCAW District 8, serving until his appointment as the International union's Citizenship-Legislative Director in 1965. He led the legislative struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, played key roles in the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and in the civil rights movement.

After the death of OCAW member Karen Silkwood, with whom he worked on health and safety issues at the Kerr-McGee nuclear facility in Oklahoma, Mazzocchi made public the truth about her case. Mazzocchi also set up an innovative internship program for medical and public health students to experience conditions in the workplace firsthand and assist in formulating remedies.

He was elected OCAW Vice-President in 1977 and was in charge of the union's programs in health and safety, atomic energy, and organizing. From 1979 to 1981 he served as Health and Safety Director. After running for OCAW President in 1979 and 1981, losing by less than one percent each time, he returned in 1982 to participate as a rank-and-file member of Local 8-149 and District 8 Council.

In 1988, Mazzocchi was elected OCAW Secretary-Treasurer and served through 1991 when he declined to run for another term. He established the Alice Hamilton College, a school-without-walls dedicated to the educational needs of union members, and published New Solutions, a journal of environmental and occupational health policy. In 1991, he and other trade union activists formed Labor Party Advocates, a nationwide effort to organize a political alternative for working people. As a result of this effort, the Labor Party was founded in 1996, and Mazzocchi was appointed its National Organizer

Tony Mazzocchi spoke at hundreds of union halls around the country, hammering home the message of a truly independent class politics. His tireless advocacy and leadership helped forge the campaigns for just health care, free higher education, and workers rights, that are central to the goals of the Labor Party.

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