Retired ILA President Hughes Dies at 79


October 2013


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The SIU along with the rest of maritime labor is mourning the death of retired International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) President Richard P. “Richie” Hughes, who died Sept. 11 in Baltimore. He was 79.


Hughes served as the ILA’s eighth president, holding the office from July 2007 until July 2011.


In a joint letter to current ILA President Harold Daggett, SIU President Michael Sacco and SIU Secretary-Treasurer David Heindel offered sincere condolences and noted they both enjoyed working with Hughes “for many years, both domestically and internationally. Richie was a true trade unionist, an effective leader, and a valued friend. He was a strong advocate for workers’ rights, both here and around the world…. On behalf of our entire organization, we again extend our heartfelt sympathies. Richie will be missed.”


Paddy Crumlin, president of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and top officer of the Maritime Union of Australia, said Hughes was “an extraordinary character, loved and respected for his tireless work on behalf of the ILA and the U.S. and international labor movements…. He often said to me the purpose and satisfaction of our life’s endeavors was mostly secured by the support we can offer for our family…. While his time at the helm was short, it punctuated a long life of distinguished service with the ILA.”


Prior to his election as president, Hughes served as both executive vice president of the ILA and secretary-treasurer of the union’s Atlantic Coast District (ACD). He had first been elected to the ACD post in 2000. In October 2005, Hughes was named executive vice president. He served the ILA in other capacities dating to 1985, and also was a member of the executive councils of both the AFL-CIO and the Maritime Trades Department.


In announcing his passing, the ILA said it is “deeply saddened” and credited Hughes with “serving our membership with distinction and honor for more than half a century. Rich Hughes’ accomplishments throughout his long career with the ILA were vast and his memory will endure.”


Hughes came from a rich tradition of longshoremen and was a third generation ILA member. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, he went to work on the Baltimore docks as a young man in 1954, first joining ILA Local 1429.


He was married to Wilma Anna Hughes since 1957; they had five children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.



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