Heights Resident Harry Kelber Plans Run For AFL-CIO Prez… At Age 99

Consider this guy the antithesis of Brooklyn Heights hipster residents Lena Dunham or Björk. Harry Kelber has announced his intention to run for President of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor organization… at the age of 98.

Longtime labor activist Kelber, an outspoken critic of the AFL-CIO, announced his candidacy late last month on the day he turned 98. He will be 99 when he formally challenges current AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka at the labor union’s convention in September 2013. “I’m a sincere old guy, and I can’t, in the final years of my life, give up. I can spend my final years in flowers looking around and watching TV, and I’m forgoing that,” he said in an interview with conservative daily newspaper The Washington Times.

Kelber’s background includes a 73-year career of activism in the labor movement. He began his career in 1939 at age 25 as the publisher of two labor newspapers. He has also edited numerous labor newsletters and pamphlets, including two during the 1962-63 strike that shut down newspapers in New York City for more than three months, and currently runs a labor-oriented website called the Labor Educator.

His platform, according to The Times, will emphasize transparency and more activism on behalf of members, calling for the release of finance reports from the top officers. The labor group, he contends, has done nothing to better workers’ lives in the past 15 years while its influence on Capitol Hill is waning.

Kelber has lived in the Heights for more than 40 years, and has three daughters and seven grandchildren. Read more about him in The Washington Times here; a NY Daily News story here; and Kelber’s official bio here.

(Photo: NY Daily News)

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  • jo

    Jesus, somehow 99 doesn’t sound as old as “in 1939 at age 25.”

  • T.K. Small

    99 is the new 65.

  • Joshua

    Harry would sure have my vote!

  • Knight

    If I live to be 98, I hope I am as lucid, vibrant, and tenacious as Harry Kelber is today. If I am, I’ll certainly still be living in this neighborhood!