Gene Holthouser “has always supported the efforts of the A. Philip Randolph Institute,” said Cylister Williams, president of the Louisville APRI chapter.
The chapter recognized the veteran Louisville trade unionist’s efforts with its 2023 Labor Award.
“I feel like it is the greatest honor I have received in my professional career,” said Holthouser, IBEW Local 369 political director and business representative. “I think so much of the local chapter for all the good work it does.”
He received the award at last Saturday night’s annual chapter banquet. “I couldn’t find the words when I thanked everybody,” said the honoree and chapter member. “But to have my name spoken in the same sentence with A. Philip Randolph is humbling and an honor I will will treasure the rest of my life.”
Randolph (1889-1979) was the greatest black labor leader in American history, and the father of the modern American civil rights movement.
“A. Philip Randolph brought the gospel of trade unionism to millions of African American households,” explains an AFL-CIO website. “Randolph led a 10-year drive to organize the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP) and served as the organization’s first president. Randolph directed the March on Washington movement to end employment discrimination in the defense industry and a national civil disobedience campaign to ban segregation in the armed forces. The nonviolent protest and mass action effort inspired the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.”
Speaking of Holthouser after the APRI banquet, Williams added: “Gene comes in and volunteers and works. He helps drive people to the polls and everything else. We try to honor people who work and volunteer and are dedicated to the cause.”
Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan said Holthouser “is a dedicated trade unionist who serves his local union and is active in the GLCLC [Greater Louisville Central Labor Council]. He’s always on our political programs that we run in Louisville and across the state.
“Gene is always there when we need him. He is a good friend and a great trade unionist.”
Tim Morris, GLCLC executive director, agrees. “Gene is an excellent union member – he’s a union leader. He always helps with labor-to-labor campaigns that we do each election cycle to support pro-worker candidates, and he’s dedicated to ensuring that we have the space that we need and the volunteers that we need to go out and help candidates that support the working families of Kentucky.”