Marching with Dr. King: Ralph Helstein and the United Packinghouse Workers of America

Marching with Dr. King: Ralph Helstein and the United Packinghouse Workers of America

Marching with Dr. King: Ralph Helstein and the United Packinghouse Workers of America

Marching with Dr. King: Ralph Helstein and the United Packinghouse Workers of America


The ultimate action-fueled end-of-the-world conspiracy trilogy from #1 New York Times bestselling author D.J. MacHale

parachuting out of military helicopters to invade Tucker Pierce's idyllic hometown on Pemberwick Island, Maine.

They call themselves SYLO and they are a secret branch of the U.S. Navy. SYLO's commander, Captain Granger, informs Pemberwick residents that the island has been hit by a lethal virus and must be quarantined. Now Pemberwick is cut off from the outside world.

Tucker believes there's more to SYLO's story. He was on the sidelines when the high school running back dropped dead with no warning. He saw the bizarre midnight explosion over the ocean, and the mysterious singing aircraft that travel like shadows through the night sky. He tasted the Ruby-and experienced the powers it gave him-for himself.

What all this means, SYLO isn't saying. Only Tucker holds the clues that can solve this deadly mystery.

because Pemberwick is only the first stop.


Why a biography of Ralph Helstein, a person very few readers have ever heard of, and why have I chosen to write it?

As I thought more about and learned more about Helstein, it became clear to me that I held a certain kinship to Helstein—his religion, his profession, his convictions, his culture, and his dedication to social justice paralleled mine.

Helstein, then the union’s general counsel, was elected president of the United Packinghouse Workers Union of America (UPWA) in 1946 as the compromise candidate of the left and right. Although electing an attorney as president seemed strange because the upwa had insisted that the union must be led by a packinghouse worker, Helstein had shown his leadership ability and was not a partisan of any political wing. As it turned out, the choice was fortuitous because Helstein was able to steer the union through a disastrous 1948 strike; begin an antidiscrimination program that strengthened the union; and bring to the workers all kinds of benefits in wage hikes, working conditions, and health and vacation benefits.

That he held strong and consistent views on freedom of speech allowed the union to avoid the political rifts current in other unions during the McCarthy red-baiting period. Helstein also foresaw the problems brought on by changes in the industry because of automation, elimination of jobs, and movement of packing operations from the Midwest to the Southwest. When these plants began to shut down, most workers received severance pay and job protection found nowhere else in industry.

Helstein led his union during particularly turbulent times. the post– World War II environment was a time of left–right splits throughout the country, and the upwa was no exception. This was a time when the cio was going through anti-red purges. the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) accused the upwa of being Communist dominated—and with . . .

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