New York, NY – Kevin P. Lynch, a longtime director of organizing and political action for major unions in New York and New Jersey, died on March 8, at the North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York. He was seventy-three years old.
As a life-long trade unionist, Lynch contributed his hard work, insight and talents on behalf of working people in many capacities. Among the trade unions to which he devoted his organizing, political and strategic skills were UAW District 65, AFSCME DC 1707, the Teamsters Local Union 840, IAM District 15, RWDSU 338, CWA 1180 and the New York City Central Labor Council. Lynch was also engaged in worker struggles worldwide throughout his career and ultimately brought back May Day Rallies to New York City amplifying international worker solidarity and immigration rights.
As a founding member of the Working Families Party (WFP), Lynch was successful in partnering labor unions and community allies to refocus electoral politics, holding elected officials and politicians accountable to working families, both union and non-union in New York and nationwide. A lover of the arts and Irish culture and tradition, Lynch was a co-founder of the Irish Arts Center.
Lynch was a contributing author to the seminal work, “A New Labor Movement for the New Century”. In addition, he pioneered the first national television program by and for organized labor, “People for Working People”, and a produced a local radio program, “Americans at Work”.
The Hon. Bernice D. Siegal, Lynch’s wife of 31 years believes, “Kevin’s determination came from fighting for Irish unification– to be free of political and capital oppression. That came in tandem with his Jesuit Education and work as an advocate for working people, from the mines in Bolivia and rice paddies of Viet Nam ultimately to the streets of New York.”
His daughter Rebecca said, “My father was a union man: who paid dues for 50 years of his life, from when he worked as a longshoreman on the docks of New York in his youth and later trade magazine worker to his work as a union organizer for decades; who loved, honored and revered other working people and stood strong against those who harmed them; who organized workers– from factory workers to retail workers to drivers to movement workers to many more–managed their grievances, led strikes, negotiated contracts, and championed their causes all the days of his life.”
“My Dad will always be my hero,” Lynch’s daughter Sara said. “He was brilliant, curious about the world, and endlessly compassionate. A literary man, my father would recite poetry from memory. ‘God’s in Heaven, all’s right with the world!’ he would often say; and add, ‘an admirable way of engaging in a world that seems to be falling apart—with an ironic sense of wonder and a healthy dose of sarcasm.’ Those who knew him know he was the fiercest advocate, who was always quick with a joke but had a tender heart.”
A celebration of Kevin Lynch’s life will be held on April 27, at DC 1707, 420 W. 45th Street, at 2 o’clock p.m.
Lynch is survived by his wife, Hon. Bernice D. Siegal of the NYS Supreme Court and Associate Justice of the Appellate Term; his daughters Rebecca Della Lynch, Deputy Director of the Working Families Party for the State of Wisconsin and Sara Alexandra Lynch, a Fellow with the Defender Association of Philadelphia; his sister Beatrice Mondare nee Lynch (Ralph Mondare), New Jersey and brother Patrick J. Lynch (Arlene Lynch), Ridgefield CT; his many nephews and nieces and by extension, his brothers and sisters in the many struggles and causes which were his life’s passion.