Executive Council Statement | Better Pay and Benefits

On the Retirement of Larry Cohen

Larry Cohen began his journey in the Communications Workers of America as a public-sector worker in New Jersey, continuing through his election as president in 2005 and ending with the conclusion of his third term in June 2015.

He was a founder of Jobs with Justice in 1987. Even then, he realized that workers’ rights in the United States were shut down compared with other democracies. He authored the Jobs with Justice “I’ll be There” pledge—a commitment to volunteer five times a year for someone else’s fight, as well as one’s own.

Larry continues to be a leader in the U.S. democracy movement: he chairs the Democracy Initiative, connecting labor, environmental, civil rights and citizens’ groups around corporate and billionaire money in politics and voting rights, as well as other issues like Senate rules on nominations and the National Labor Relations Board.

Larry was proud to chair the AFL-CIO Organizing Committee for 10 years. He helped lead the fight for the Employee Free Choice Act, celebrating when it passed the House by a large margin and working throughout 2009 to try to get the legislation on the Senate floor, despite rules that required 60 votes.

Larry helped lead the fight against Fast Track in 2014 and 2015 and remains committed to the fight for fair trade, not corporate deals that gut our jobs and our pay.

Larry pledged to CWA delegates on his last day as president to be there again, as he started more than 40 years ago, in the streets and across America building the mass movement for economic justice and democracy.

We will miss his leadership, his strong voice and his friendship, but we look forward to continuing to work with him on many issues that are vital to workers worldwide and to a vibrant democracy.