EmblemHealth and LaborPress Honor Remarkable Contributions of Union Members

Third Annual Heroes of Labor Awards Recognizes 12 Union Members for Acts of Community Service

NEW YORK, NY (October 6, 2014) — The extraordinary sacrifices and contributions of labor union members were celebrated last Thursday evening at the third annual Heroes of Labor Awards in lower Manhattan, which recognized 12 honorees from nine New York City labor unions.

The Heroes of Labor Awards were formed in 2011 to spotlight the outstanding contributions made by members of the labor community throughout New York City. The awards are hosted by EmblemHealth as part of its commitment to the health and well–being of New York’s working men and women, and sponsored by LaborPress, a news information and advocacy resource for the labor movement.

Among this year’s honorees were Catherine Morrissey and Erica Griffith from the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators Local 1, whose resourceful nature and kind spirit helped as many as 1,000 people during Hurricane Sandy by setting up a shelter inside Brooklyn’s FDR High School. The evening also honored Erich Preis of RWDSU/UFCW Local 338. Erich is a grocery store worker who, despite his struggles with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, has used his artistic talent to honor a friend killed on September 11, 2001 by founding a charity which has raised thousands of dollars for homeless veterans through the sale of his art.

Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council along with Jerry Gallo, EmblemHealth Vice President of Sales and Neal Tepel, publisher of LaborPress, provided opening remarks at the ceremony.

Shawn McLoughlin, Director of Labor for EmblemHealth who presented last night’s honorees with their awards, said: “Three years ago EmblemHealth and LaborPress set out to honor the everyday sacrifices of New York’s labor movement. Together we have honored some of the most selfless individuals in this city. We are proud of all of our honorees, past and present, and thank them for their contributions not only to their unions and the labor movement, but also to their fellow New Yorkers and broader communities.”

Commenting on the awards, Vincent Alvarez said: “I want to thank EmblemHealth and LaborPress for organizing this event and for their ongoing commitment to our community. Heroes of Labor was founded to recognize the heroic work of the union members that we are so proud to represent every day. This year’s 12 honorees and the contributions they have made prove that union members are this city's most valuable asset and greatest resource.”

“This year’s Heroes of Labor Awards is the largest since we started this program three years ago. I am so proud that these awards have grown to present such a diverse cross section of New York’s labor community.” said Neal Tepel. “Our honorees exemplify what it truly means to be a labor union member. These remarkable individuals have truly gone above and beyond the call of duty in the service of their communities.”

Other individuals honored at last night’s awards ceremony were:

  • Luis Alzate: Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1056
  • Abraham Benjamin: New York State Civil Service Employees Association, Local 1000
  • Carolyn Coz, AFSCME District Council 1701, Local 95
  • Mabel Everett, AFSCME District Council 1701, Local 2015
  • Bobby Fantine, International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 94
  • Howard Styles, Internal Union of Operating Engineers, Local 94
  • Shirley Gray, Social Service Employees Union District Council 37, Local 371
  • Manny Nieves, NYC District Council of Carpenters
  • Maria Sullivan, International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 15

In memoriam, a special tribute award was given to Richard Sheehan, former President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 802.

Heroes of Labor
Erich Preis of RWDSU-UFCW Local 338 (second from right) received his award from (left to right) Neal Tepel, publisher of LaborPress, Shawn McLoughlin, EmblemHealth Director of Labor, and Jerry Gallo, EmblemHealth Vice President of Sales.

About EmblemHealth
EmblemHealth, Inc., through its companies Group Health Incorporated (GHI) and HIP Health Plan of New York (HIP), provides quality health care coverage and administrative services to approximately 3.4 million people. Groups and individuals can choose from a variety of PPO, EPO and HMO plans, as well as coverage for prescription drugs and dental and vision care. EmblemHealth offers a choice of networks, including quality doctors and other health care professionals throughout the region, leading acute care hospitals across the tristate area, and physicians and hospitals across all 50 states. For more information, visit www.emblemhealth.com.

About LaborPress
LaborPress is the leading news, information and advocacy resource for the labor movement in New York City. Through their website, electronic newsletter and print magazine, the organization shares labor industry information to over 25,000 union officials, community leaders and members of unions in the five boroughs and Long Island. LaborPress was founded in August 2009. Visit http://laborpress.org/ for more information.

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