Local labor leader Wendell W. Young III passed away on Wednesday at his home in Lafayette Hill after an illness. He was 74-years-old.
Credit: Philadelphia Inquirer
After graduating from Saint Joseph’s University in 1960 and later earning an MBA from Rutgers University, Young served as the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 for more than four decades. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Young was responsible for saving the jobs of thousands of union members, marshaling a $1 billion offer to purchase ACME Markets, and engineering a labor agreement that created Super Fresh Markets.
Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah released the following statement on Young:
Wendell W. Young III was a giant of the Philadelphia labor movement, and he was my friend. He was a man of action, a man of compassion and a fighter for social justice.
Wendell Young III’s success as an organizer was always directed toward creating a better life and improved working conditions for the members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776. In addition, he never lost sight of the greater good of the entire Philadelphia community. I extend condolences to the family, including his son and successor, Wendell W. Young IV, and to all who admired and benefited from the dedication of Wendell Young III.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter also released a statement following Young’s death:
Wendell Young III was a truly good man. He was always sincere and straightforward, a man who understood the political system and large organizations and who, for two generations, used that uncommon understanding as leader of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 to benefit working men and women in the Philadelphia region.
Beginning in the early 1960’s, Wendell Young built a powerful union that today represents more than 24,000 members in the Mid-Atlantic states.
And as passionate as he was about the labor movement, he was always excited about his alma mater, St. Joseph’s University, where he helped found academic programs and avidly supported Hawk basketball.
I extend my condolences to his son, Wendell Young IV who has followed his father as the leader of UFCW Local 1776, to Wendell Young III’s large family and to the labor community, which has lost one of its great leaders.
Young is survived by his wife and six sons. His son, Wendell Young IV, is the current UFCW President. Young’s funeral arrangements are pending.