Masar Gets ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from Labor History Society
By Kenneth Germanson
Stephen Masar, longtime activist in Madison labor, was awarded the Solidarity Award of the Wisconsin Labor History Society at the group’s annual meeting April 16 at the Anderson United Way Center in Madison.
The award has been given annually for some 20 years to unionists for a lifetime of commitment to the labor movement, and is usually given for those who have volunteered their services, rather than full-time union officials.
It was presented by Jim Cavanaugh, President of the South Central Federation of Labor, who cited Masar’s leadership of the Council’s Education Committee and the development of its “Labor History with a Bite” educational series which the Council staged for several years recently. He also noted Masar’s leadership within American Federation of Teachers Local 3732.
Masar responded with his appreciation of receiving the award, giving his remarks a humorous and somewhat ironic twist, which drew chuckles from the packed crowd of 65 participating in the annual conference.
“What are you saving?” he asked the audience in his acceptance remarks, referring to the current protests in Wisconsin in opposing Governor Walker’s effort to weaken unions.
Noting his 37 years as an archivist, Masar said, “The historic record is awfully sparse. Things change daily and much of that does not get documented at all.
What kind of records are you going to leave for posterity?”
He urged unionists to keep documents, handouts, newsletter and phone logs, suggesting they be organized in chronological order. Also, he recommended keeping intentional records, such as diaries, blogging or other recollections. Finally, he said it is important to keep records within a person’s living space and not in a garage or basement where mold will tend to ruin them.