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Join PNLHA in celebrating the life of Ross Rieder on Sept. 10

All are invited to join the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association, family and friends, singer John O’Connor and Rebel Voices to a Celebration of the Life of Ross Rieder, a renowned local union activist who passed away in December 2021. This event will be from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Georgetown Apprenticeship & Education Center, Gene J. Colin Education Hall (Building C), 6737 Corson Ave. S. in Seattle. Participants will share stories and remembrances plus drinks and light food.

A former public school teacher and a lifelong educator, Rieder was a member/leader with the American Federation of Teachers, a former Washington State Labor Council staffer, and founding President of the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association.

Rieder was elected President of the Washington Federation of Teachers (now known as AFT Washington) in 1968 and served until 1975. His union career continued with IFPTE Local 17 as a negotiator and organizer from 1977-79, the Washington State Labor Council from 1979-86 as Political Action Coordinator, and the Snohomish County Labor Council 1992-97 as an Organizer. Rieder was a charter member of the WFT Retiree Chapter Local 8045R AFT and served on its executive board from the chapter’s inception in 2003 until 2017. He was President of the chapter for six years, from 2009 until 2015.

Rider’s passion was Union Labor and he dedicated his career to preserving the history of working people, notably in the Pacific Northwest. He served as founding President of the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association (PNLHA) from 1977 until retiring in 2015. He produced the PNLHA newsletter Urban Work, hosted Everett radio station KSER’s “Part of the Union” program from 2000-2012 and worked with the Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28 filming the monthly TV special “Our View” reflecting on labor history. Since the late 1980s, PNLHA has sponsored a Labor Stage at Folklife and presented periodic labor concerts and arts festivals over many decades. He helped sustain and grow PNLHA, oversaw annual conferences, produced the annual labor history wall calendar and created labor union walking tours in Seattle and Tacoma.

“He was the heart of our organization and his passion and organizing ability made the PNLHA the unique organization it is,” reads a memorial by Conor Casey at the PNLHA website. “Ross’s commitment to promoting the history and heritage of labor in the Pacific Northwest is a legacy that will continue to inspire and endure.”

Please join the PNLHA and Rieder’s family and friends in celebrating his life at the Sept. 10 event.

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