On February 26, the Labor Movement lost a true fighter for workers’ rights with the passing of John DeFazio, longtime Union leader and Allegheny County Councilman. As a union brother and a public servant, he spent his life in the fight for working people. His impact on workers across the Commonwealth cannot be understated.
The United Steelworkers wrote: “The spirit and solidarity of labor was in John DeFazio’s blood, and he never forgot where he came from,” said International President Tom Conway. “The members of this union – and all working people in Pennsylvania and around the country – owe John a debt of gratitude for his years of dedication and leadership.”
In 1970, DeFazio became the youngest local union president in the Steel industry, representing 5,000 members of USW Local 1843 at age 29. In 2001, he became the Director of USW District 10, leading 50,000 steelworkers across Pennsylvania.
“John DeFazio was a thoughtful and passionate voice in the Labor Movement. As the Director of USW District 10 and as a Vice President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Executive Committee, John was a well-respected trade unionist who took his fight for workers and justice well beyond the ring. He set an example for union members everywhere by living his solidarity through service to his community. Johnny will be missed, but his fight will not be forgotten,” remarked President Rick Bloomingdale.
“Whether he was inside the ring or outside it, Johnny DeFazio was a fighter with a cause,” said fellow Steelworker and Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder. “Championing positive union contracts, enacting good public policy and helping friends throughout the community, Johnny never forgot where he came from. Tough. Firm. Fair. I learned a lot from Johnny. My condolences go out to Marsha and the kids.”
“We are sad to learn that John DeFazio has passed away. John was a dedicated public servant, a union leader & a Vice President of our Labor Council, & a lifelong champion for working families in western Pennsylvania. We offer our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones as they mourn his loss. Jumpin’ Johnny will be greatly missed, and we’ll never forget the sacrifices he made for working people,” stated Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council President Darrin Kelly.
The funeral Mass will be on Tuesday, March 2 at 10 a.m. in St. Matthew Holy Spirit Parish. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the American Cancer Association.