|Birth: ||Oct. 20, 1928|
|Death: ||Feb. 3, 2007|
West Deer Township
George Becker - UNION LEADER'S BURIAL TO BE IN GRANITE CITY:- Thursday, February 8, 2007
After decades of leadership in Pittsburgh and Washington D.C., the late steel union leader will be laid to rest Friday in his hometown, Granite City.
Becker died Saturday after a long battle with prostate cancer at his home in suburban Pittsburgh. He was 78.
His passing was marked by many throughout the international steelworkers community, which he served as the sixth president of the United Steelworkers of America.
Visitation is from 4-8 p.m. today at Irwin Chapel Funeral Home, 591 Glen Crossing Road, Glen Carbon. Becker's funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at Irwin Chapel, followed by burial at St. John's Cemetery, 2901 Nameoki Road, Granite City.
Becker grew up in the shadow of Granite City's steel mill, where his father worked. In 1944, at 15, he began working as an open-hearth laborer at Granite City Steel. He then went to work as a crane operator at General Steel Castings and then as an assembler at the General Motors Fisher Body plant in St. Louis.
He served in the Marines in World War II and served in the Army during the Korean War.
Steve Conkovich remembers meeting Becker at the Dow Chemical aluminum rolling plant in 1953.
"He started from meager beginnings, but I could tell from the beginning ... he had an aggressive look about him, like he was going someplace," said the 83-year-old retiree. "We were always proud of him."
At that time, Becker became a shop steward for the steelworkers union, Local 4804, then served as local treasurer before becoming vice president. By 1961, he was named the union's president.
In 1969, he testified as an expert witness on lead poisoning before Congress as legislators debated over the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The following decade, he helped propose OSHA safety standards.
Becker served as assistant to the union district director and then became vice president before his election to the district presidency. He was elected as the union international president in 1993 and was re-elected in 1997.
Gary Hubbard, director of public affairs for the United Steelworkers of America in Washington D.C., said Becker will be best remembered for rising from the ranks as a worker to a leader.
"He had a remarkable intellect that was very street-wise," Hubbard said. "That contributed to his never being bowed by the mightiest powers in representing workers."
Saint John's Cemetery
Created by: K
Record added: Aug 29, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 96215251
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