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1991 Eugene V. Debs - Norman Thomas - Michael Harrington Dinner

The 33rd Annual Dinner was held at the Congress Hotel on Saturday, May 11, 1991. The Master of Ceremonies was Jackie Grimshaw. The honorees were Kathy Devine and Steve Culen. According to the program book, Carl Shier presented the award to Kathy Devine, and Congressman Charles Hayes presented the award to Steve Culen. The Honorable Dennis Drainville, leader of the New Democratic Party caucus in the Ontario Parliament spoke on "Victory in Ontario: Building a Social Democratic Government". Jim Pomasello provided music during the Dinner.

This was the last Dinner where there was assigned seating. After 1991, the Dinner Committee adopted the curious practice of having reserved tables for those who would buy 10 tickets at a slightly higher price. It was a compromise between those who wished to continue assigned seating and those traumatized by having to deal with it on the scale of this Dinner. The 1991 Dinner was possibly the largest with over 700 tickets sold.

In addition to the Dinner, Chicago DSA organized a Midwest DSA conference that weekend.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning, the national DSA Labor Commission held a conference at nearby Roosevelt University.

 1991 Program Book Cover


Kathleen Devine

We honor you as a career soldier in the battle against social injustice.

You have devoted a lifetime to a wide range of important causes. When the United Farm Workers struggled to establish their union, you were on the front lines. When the unions to which you belonged tackled the issues of race and poverty, you gave unstintingly of your time and energy.

Whenever there has been a major struggle to open up the political processes to those who have been denied access, you have helped lead the charge to break down barriers.

And now you have taken on a leadership role in the Illinois Labor Network Against Apartheid's efforts to end apartheid once and for all.

For your dedication to the fight for social justice, the Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner Committee does hereby present you with its annual award this 11th day of May, 1991.


Stephen M. Culen

We honor you as an exemplary trade unionist.

During your lifetime in the labor movement as a member, local officer and leader, you have never lost sight of labor's mission.

Under your leadership your union, AFSCME Council 31, has organized tens of thousands of workers and has grown to be the largest union in the State Federation of Labor. You have fought to build a union that is steadfast in its determination to fight for its members' rights and to foster their active involvement. Your union's resources have been utilized to put it in the forefront of the struggle to provide decent public services.

You have understood that the labor movement has a role to play beyond U.S. borders. Your union has played a major role, and you personally have gone to jail, in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa.

You represent the best in the trade union tradition.

For your unyielding commitment to the ideals of a progressive labor movement, the Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner Committee does hereby present you with its annual award this 11th day of May, 1991.


In recognition of Steve Culen, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution congratulating him. As usual for such resolutions, the resolution mentioned the occasion and the organization (Democratic Socialists of America). It was too much for the Republican members of the Board. They passed an amendment deleting the Dinner and DSA from the resolution. A few of the Democrats dissented.

This is the resolution as amended.

WHEREAS, Stephen M. Culen is the Executive Director of Council 31, the Illinois affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), presently the bargaining representative for more than 70,000 state, university and local government employees throughout the state; and

WHEREAS, Stephen M. Culen joined AFSCME in 1972 as a staff representative and, since 1980, has been Executive Director, overseeing the day - to - day operations of a council with more than 200 local unions, negotiating more than 200 contracts and numerous agency supplements; and

WHEREAS, Stephen M. Culen is International Vice-President of the 1.1 million member AFSCME and, as such, sits on the union's highest policy making Board and also serves as Vice-President of Illinois State AFL-CIO; and

WHEREAS, Stephen M. Culen has served on Governmental Commissions and Task Forces, has been a guest lecturer at various universities on the topics of labor management relations and collective bargaining; and presently sits on the Board of Directors for Little Brothers/Friends of the Elderly and Chicago Cities in Schools; and

WHEREAS, Stephen M. Culen is a life long resident of the Southwest side of Chicago, a proud husband, and father of six children; and

WHEREAS, Stephen M. Culen is being recognized and honored for his substantial contributions to the organized labor movement and many other causes for social justice on May 11, 1991;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the President and Members of the Board of Commissioners of Cook County join in saluting the many achievements of STEPHEN M. CULEN and congratulating STEPHEN M. CULEN for this well deserved honor, wishing him and his family a joyous and memorable evening of recognition.

Adopted this 6th day of May, 1991.


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