International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO
Gerald W. Owens made history on July 19, 2000 when the Executive Council of the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO, selected him to serve as the union’s International General Organizer, thus becoming the first African-American to serve in that position in the ILA’s 115-year-history. He was elected to serve his first full term as International General Organizer at the ILA’s 51st Quadrennial Convention in July 2003. Mr. Owens was reelected to the position of International General Organizer at the ILA’s 52nd Quadrennial Convention in July 2007 and the ILA’s 53rd Quadrennial Convention in July 2011.
Mr. Owens previously served as the ILA’s Assistant General Organizer, a position he was first elected to in July 1991. Mr. Owens has worked for over 50 years in the waterfront industry, having joined the ILA Local 1233 in 1958, while working as a longshoreman in Port Newark and Port Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Mr. Owens served for seven years as President of ILA Local 1233 in Newark and was instrumental in establishing that local’s annual scholarship fund. Since 1984, Mr. Owens has been President of ILA Local 2049, representing transportation workers in New Jersey.
Throughout his career, Mr. Owens has blended on-the-job union experience with advanced studies in public relations, union organizing and labor law.
Mr. Owens has completed course work at the George Meany Center for Labor Studies in Teaching Techniques; African-American Labor Studies; Labor Organizing Techniques; and Labor Law for Organizing. He also has studied at the Dale Carnegie Public Relations Seminars; Hamilton Institute; Maritime Studies and Rutgers University’s Workmen’s In Business Opportunity Course.
In 1982, Mr. Owens joined the Atlantic Coast District Executive Board as Vice President. Seven years later, he was elected to the ILA’s top Executive Council as an International Vice President.
Since 2006, Mr. Owens has served as a Vice President of the New Jersey AFL-CIO and also holds an elected position as Vice President of the Essex West Hudson (New Jersey) Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
He has served as Commissioner of the New Jersey Board of Elections since 2006 In August 2006, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez appointed Mr. Owens to serve as a committee member of the Liberty Corridor Advisory Board.
On the International level, Mr. Owens serves as a trustee to the Management-ILA Health Care Fund (MILA) and is a member of the labor-management Industry Resource Committee. On the local level in the Port of New York and New Jersey, Mr. Owens serves on the following New York Shipping Association-ILA committees: Audit and Delinquency; Contract Board; Container Royalty/Containerization Fund; Guaranteed Annual Income; Medical; Retirement; Vacation and Holiday; Pension; Money Purchase Pension; Labor Relations; Grievances and Arbitration; and Fringe Benefit Escrow Fund
Mr. Owens is president of the Essex County (New Jersey) chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute and elected as an alternate delegate to the 2000 Democratic National Convention supporting the candidacy of Al Gore for President. For the past several years, Mr. Owens has served as a member of the Heisman Committee at the Downtown Athletic Club. Mr. Owens is a trustee of the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark. Jerry Owens also serves on the Board of Directors of Newark Symphony Hall and the Newark Performing Arts Corporation. Mr. Owens also serves on board of Directors of Essex County College in Newark, NJ. In 2011, Mr. Owens was appointed to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
The father of two children, Jerry Owens and his wife, Jacquelyn reside in South Orange, New Jersey.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]