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Labor Leader Ralph Mandrew Dies In Florida

Dec. 14, 2006 Labor leader Ralph Mandrew died Thursday in Ft. Meyers Fla., after a long illness.
Mandrew, who was born in Antigua, made his way to the Virgin Islands in the mid '70s via New York City, where he had been active in union organizations. He was also involved in the Civil Rights movement, according to a release from Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards.
For 12 years, Mandrew was president of the V.I. Central Labor Council. He later served as president of the V. I. Workers Union Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union, Local 611, until his illness forced him to step down in 2004.
Richards called Mandrew "a friend and partner in the struggle for improving the quality of life for all workers in the territory."
Richards said he visited Mandrew at his home in Florida in July and presented him with the Lifetime Service Award on behalf of the V.I. government.
"Brother Ralph taught us all that while change may not always come overnight, if we continue the good fight, we will overcome," Richards said. "Like one of his role models, Dr. Martin Luther King, whom he fought with during the Civil Rights movement, Brother Ralph truly believed that 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'"
Delegate Donna M. Christensen remembered Mandrew Thursday night as a "stalwart" of the Moravian Church and as a mentor.
"He was a mentor to many who are labor leaders today, so his legacy will live on," she said.
Information about survivors or funeral arrangements was not immediately available.

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