Family, admirers of Paul Booth urge donations to his favored worker causes

WASHINGTON—Almost seven months after famed organizer and activist Paul Booth died, his family and admirers are urging unionists donate in his memory to three top worker causes he favored sponsored.


            In a personal note, his widow, Heather Booth – herself a famed and energetic organizer

– said donations can go to the Chicago-based Midwest Academy for training organizers in building community power, to Jobs With Justice and to the Restaurant Opportunities Center.


            Booth spent more than 50 years in organizing for progressive and labor causes, starting in the student anti-war movement as Secretary of the Students for a Democratic Society and key author of its Port Huron Manifesto.


            He moved on to organize, train leaders for, and establish AFSCME District Council 31 in Illinois, also winning first contracts, with decent wages and working conditions for Chicago city workers.


            In between, he met Heather at an anti-war sit-in at the University of Chicago, where she was a student and also organizer of an underground clinic to help women get safe – though not legal – abortions in the pre-Roe v Wade era. They married months later in Chicago.


            Paul Booth then launched organizing drives for AFSCME throughout the nation, especially in the South – and found many ways, including humor, to bring squabbling sides together for common goals to better workers.


            The three organizations, which he helped found and foster – especially Jobs With Justice – carry on his ideas and ideals, Heather Booth said. Paul Booth helped found JWJ and led some of its first actions.


            And he cared deeply about getting living wages and respect on the job for tipped workers – especially restaurant servers – the aim of the Restaurant Opportunities Center. Booth capped his career as a special assistant for organizing – and also more of a chief of staff – for AFSCME Presidents Gerald McEntee and Lee Saunders.


            “Paul Booth was the love of my life and my life partner for over 50 years in the movement to build a more just, democratic and peaceful world.  He died unexpectedly on January 17 of this year,” she explained. 


            “He was also a major voice in the film” about her clinic and organizing “as he was in my life and the life of the movement. We both would say how lucky we are to have the life we live in this movement, with each other and wonderful family and friends.  We can carry on Paul’s values and legacy by building the organizations and movements he also cared about,” she said.


            “There is a Mentorship Fund — the Rising Leadership Project — created to support training and mentoring with three organizations that Paul cared about deeply.  We hope you will support the efforts listed below and continue to work for a world in which all are treated with dignity and respect,” she concluded.


            Donations can be made through the Mentorship Fund or through the website of the film about the Booths.

Source: PAI