We were deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of a
dear friend and former Local 108 staff member, Jack Drakeford. While Jack left
an indelible mark on Local 108, his legacy extends far beyond his service to the
union. Jack led a life dedicated to public service –as city clerk, city
manager, and councilperson in Englewood, NJ. As a firefighter he helped to
integrate the city’s fire department. Perhaps it was this experience that
inspired Jack’s life long effort to ensure that government helped to create
opportunities for minority groups. All politics was local for Jack and he was
ahead of his time in knowing how local governance made up the building blocks
of a just society.
Jack first came to Local 108 when we merged with Local 29
RWDSU. As a business agent he was a mentor to us all. Jack was a master
negotiator and our record for having some of the strongest public sector
contracts in the state is in no small way thanks to his legacy. After retiring
as a business agent, Jack continued to serve Local 108 in an advisory role.
Recently, as a council member in Englewood, Jack stood up
one last time for Local 108 members. This time at the Englewood Public Library
in his hometown where community members were fighting back against what would
have been a devastating budget cut. Despite his frail state, Jack made a
powerful case for the library and demonstrated that his commitment to justice
was still as strong as ever. In the years to come we will strive to continue on
in the footsteps of this great man. You will be deeply missed, but your life is
truly one worth celebrating – thanks for everything Jack!