Bob Treuhaft, Dobbie Walker and Eva Lapin Maas

Happy Labor Day

Today I’d like to remember some champions whose courage and devotion to “getting a better deal for the working man and woman” also meant fighting prejudice, poverty, unemployment and inequality.

In honor of Bob Treuhaft

who after graduating from Harvard Law, began his career as a labor lawyer for the International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union and spent a lifetime as a Human Rights Lawyer.

And Dobby Walker

Whom Decca first met when she worked for the Office of Price Administration first in San Francisco . Dobby was the daughter of a Jewish couple from Dallas, who discovered Marxism as a sorority girl at the University of California at Los Angeles. She was one of the first women to graduate from the University of California at Berkeley with a law degree. Most impressively, she was the president of the San Francisco chapter of the Federal Workers Union. When the regional office of the OPA instituted a loyalty ordinance, which excluded resident aliens from employment. Dobby launched a successful appeal to defend Decca’s job. Dobby remained a labor lawyer for much of her very long life, and like Bob Treuhaft, with whom she shared an Oakland, California based law practice, dedicated her career to Civil Rights. She was a legendary Union Leader at Cutter Laboratories but is probably best known for her defense of Angela Davis. She died in 2009. This obituary gives an outline of her amazing life

And Eva Lapin Maas,

Who was also in Decca’s circle of close friends and died just this past year. Eva was a social activist and child pediatric social worker who started her Union work with the International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union. Born in Russia, as an infant Eva barely survived an attack on her village by anti-Semitic Cossacks who murdered her father and wounded her mother (who protected and covered Eva’s body with her own). Leah Garchik wrote this lovely rememberance:

Last spring I found myself in a San Francisco house full to the rafters, celebrating Eva’s life with her family and friends. We sang: “There Once Was a Union Maid;” Woody Guthrie’s great song “I’m sticking with the Union” (“Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking with the Union”); and a song I hadn’t heard for years but found especially moving…

“You will know me by the work that I have done/If I fall upon the road/ someone else will take a hold/ You will know me by the work that I have done…

This folk song has elements of a "spiritual" while it dignifies and celebrates old fashioned ethical humanism...If anyone out there knows all the lyrics, I’d love to get a copy.

Don’t Mourn Organize-Joe Hill

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