Carl Kessler died Feb. 22, from emphysema, at age 67.
Carl was a life-long militant for labor and the international working class. He was active in the railroad machinists, steelworkers, AFSCME Local 1108 and as a skilled machinist at Menasco and Northrop.
Carl was the leader of a ten-year (1979-89) strike at Menasco, an aircraft landing gear manufacture, in Burbank. In the 50s he was redbaited by employers and the California Subversive Activities Committee.
He was a founding delegate of the AFL and CIO-merged Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. He remained a delegate and activist in the "Fed" for the next 40 years. His attendance was so regular that his friends became alarmed when he failed to show up for the monthly meeting last night. When two machinists visited him after the meeting, he was pale but refused to go to the hospital. He died sometime between 11 pm and 8 am this morning.
Carl was disciplined to the extreme. He insisted on accountability and berated those who refused to study the history of the labor movement. From the 60s onward, Carl cultivated trade unionists with "promise" regardless of their political affiliations. In the end, he became the elder statesman of the L.A. labor movement, respected by his enemies and beloved by his friends. He was the heart and soul of the movement.