Former IAM Grand Lodge Representative and Midwest Political Director Charlie Williams died July 19, 2014 after losing his battle with bone cancer. He was 83 years old.
“Charlie made a name for himself in the IAM and across the labor movement as a warrior for working people and an advocate for policies that would provide a decent life for working families,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip Gruber. “He will be sorely missed by many and the IAM sends its heartfelt condolences to his family.”
Williams began his IAM career at McDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis after serving as an aircraft mechanic for the U.S Navy in the Korean War. In 1967, he was appointed to the position of Grand Lodge Representative and was later elected Regional Political Director. He founded the Wisconsin Council of Senior Citizens and served as the Regional Director of the National Council of Senior Citizens. He was instrumental in getting 63 union representatives to the 1988 Democratic National Convention – three times more union delegates than ever before.
In 1995, U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) named Williams his representative to the White House Conference on Aging where he spoke out for Social Security. His stand for Social Security remains fundamental in providing a safety net when 401(k)’s and the stock market fail.
Williams was later elected in 2001 to the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party, and then in 2002 was named by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to the Strategic Planning Committee for the Alliance for Retired Americans.