RIP CWA President Emeritus Morty Bahr

CWA members, the labor movement and our country lost a giant last night. Morty was comfortable whether he was in the company of Presidents of the United States, in the halls of Congress, or on a picket line.CWA President Emeritus Morty Bahr (second from right) walks the picket line during the 1970 Western Union strike.

Yesterday, at the 77th CWA Convention, I was honored to present the first Morton Bahr CWA STRONG award to the presidents of several New Jersey state worker locals. We named this award after Morty because of his vision, tenacity, and union building. Under Morty’s direction we expanded the union to welcome in New Jersey state workers in the early 1980s through an organizing campaign led by Larry Cohen, based on a network of 1,000 stewards who had pulled off a wildcat strike.

Morty Bahr was not only a great president, he was a member's president. Morty loved fighting alongside members in organizing drives and on the picket line almost more than anything else that he did as president of our union. He embraced mobilization and political action to secure the best for our members and he knew his power at the bargaining table derived from the members and stewards in the workplace who led them.

Morty will be sorely missed. Please keep his wife Florence, his son Dan and daughter Janice in your thoughts. We have set up a website ( where you can share your condolences and your memories of Morty, which we will pass along to his family.

In Unity,

Chris Shelton