Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Charley Richardson

To the COSH Network and Protecting Workers’ Alliance:

As you may know Charley Richardson’s battle with cancer has intensified. His family and friends have established a great way to thank and remember Charley. Please read about Military Families Speak Out and how to contribute to the legacy fund in Charley’s name If you make a donation – please give on behalf of “COSH” so he will know this is from his vast network of labor health and safety activist allies.

Thanks and Happy Holidays
Tolle Graham, Pres. National COSH Network

We, Charley and Nancy, are asking those who know and support the work of Military Families Speak Out to help solidify this vital organization that we have helped to build. The love and support of so many of you has kept us going, even as Charley’s battle with cancer has intensified. We are now asking that you help keep Military Families Speak Out going. As we step back, we ask that you step up. Many friends have asked us how they can help Charley and our family. This is how you can help. Your contributions to MFSO, and your words of support, will help build a legacy for Charley, and allow Military Families Speak Out to continue to be a leader in the movement to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Charley Richardson and Nancy Lessin
Co-founders, Military Families Speak Out


At the Annual COSH Conference in November 2009– we were honored to present Charley the Tony Mazzocchi award for his outstanding contribution to the health and safety movement. This is what we said about him.

Charley Richardson

Charley has been active in the labor movement and the movement to create safe jobs and clean environments for over thirty years. After brief stints working in a machine shop and as a school bus driver, Charley became a shipfitter (heavy steel fabricator) at Sun Ship in the Philadelphia area in 1976. He was a union steward at the shipyard and also began working with Philaposh. He served on the Board of Directors of Philaposh and was very active in Philaposh’s campaign for a Right to Know law in New Jersey in the early 1980’s. Charley moved to Massachusetts in 1983, worked as a shipfitter and became a union safety steward Charley was active with MassCOSH and served on MassCOSH’s Board of Directors for sixteen years.

In the late 1980’s he suffered a career-ending work-related back injury, and left the shipyard to help create the Technology and Work Program at UMass– Lowell. This program assisted unions in dealing with workplace change, including the introduction of new technologies and new forms of work organization and the impacts of these changes on working people and their health and safety. This year, budget cuts hit U-Mass Lowell, and Charley was laid off from the Labor Extension Program. Charley continues to do work with the Labor Extension Program, and currently he is also a consultant to the United Steelworkers’ Education Department.
One of Charley’s most recent publications, called “Working Alone” puts forward a strong caution about how work restructuring and technological change is isolating workers from each other, increasing stress and health and safety hazards, and weakening the relationships needed for building solidarity and union power.

Charley and his wife Nancy Lessin, are co-founders of Military Families Speak Out, an organization that began in fall, 2002 and now includes over 4,000 military families from across the country who have relatives in the military and are speaking out to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and bring our troops home now. Charley’s son and Nancy’s stepson served in the Marines and was deployed to Iraq in 2003. Charley and Nancy have also been involved with U.S. Labor Against the War since its founding in 2002.

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