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William Jenkins, labor videographer and union militant, dies

Nationally known labor videographer, William Jenkins, dies unexpectedly
William Jenkins, labor videographer and union militant, dies

Stunning news came early this week when the labor
movement learned of the sudden death of William Jenkins III.

Jenkins, as he wished to be called, was a multi-talented
union activist and labor media producer. He was nationally
known as a unique and gifted labor documentarist,
among a long list of other qualities.

He was Chairperson of Committee for Labor Access, the
Chicago-based non-profit which produces the Labor Beat
cable tv show and Labor Express radio show. He was
a board member of the national Union Producers and
Programmers Network. Jenkins also was a member of the
New Leadership slate in IBT 743 which won the delegate
election for the 2001 IBT National Convention. He
was asked by the New Leadership group to run
as part of their slate in this fall's Local 743
election, but had to turn down the offer due to
other commitments. Nevertheless, he has worked
hard for the success of the New Leadership campaign.

During the 2001 Teamsters convention Jenkins provided
unique video coverage of the Leedham rank-and-file reform
campaign at the convention (providing day-by-day internet
video streaming). Later, at the national convention of
Teamsters for a Democratic Union in Pittsburg, William
Jenkins was asked to show his edited coverage of the IBT
convention on a giant screen. Afterwards, he was asked
to stand and receive the convention's applause for his
work. Tom Leedham, candidate for IBT president,
has said, "I love his work." His media work was by
no means limited to the rank-and-file movement in
the Teamsters, and coverd from A to Z every
important labor fight for human rights and economic
justice. Jenkins had also recently become a member
of the ISO (International Socialist Organization).

This short statement on Jenkins' death cannot be
a substitute for an extensive appreciation of his works
and contributions. Such a document will be forthcoming,
according to Larry Duncan, Labor Beat's co-founder.

William Jenkins died late Monday night (Oct 29) while
he was at work at Rush Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago.
The cause of death was given as heart failure. He
was only 44, and would have been 45 on Nov. 13.

The funeral will take place on Thursday, Nov. 8 and
on Friday will be the burial. Preliminary plans are
now being made for a labor/community commemoration
at an as yet unspecified date in the future.

It will be a long while before for his comrades in
struggle can adjust to his absence.

[Photo] William Jenkins, appearing on CAN-TV, Chicago Access Network
[Photo Credit] Greg Boozell/CAN-TV



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