The conference will close with our Annual Awards Reception at 6:00 PM on Thursday, June 9th.
This year we are pleased to honor John Springer and Robin Greene-Toler with the Sol Hoffman Award, which is given for service to the Keystone Research Center and to the labor movement. It is named in honor of Sol Hoffman, one of the founders of KRC and a life-long labor leader.
John Springer, former Executive Director, PSEA. In his 36-plus years at PSEA, Springer was part of almost every one of the Association’s major initiatives, helping PSEA grow to become the most powerful force for public education policy in Pennsylvania and the standard by which other NEA state affiliates are judged. He currently serves as Senior Director, Center for Business Operations, NEA.
Robin Greene-Toler, former KRC Board President. Robin graduated from West Chester University with a degree in Political Science/History with a concentration in Public Administration and Racial and Ethnic Understanding. She began her career as a multi-line, multi-state adjuster, becoming a Workers Compensation Supervisor and later, Labor Relations Specialist, whose clients included the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Gas Works. Robin was the owner and CEO of The Manager’s Choice, a human resource and risk-management consulting firm, Vice President of Operations, Mid-Atlantic Region, at Alliant insurance Services, Inc., where she developed workers’ compensation and risk management training programs for clients, and Regional Sales Director of One Call Care Management. Robin is active in politics and the community, serving as Board Secretary for Planned Parenthood Southeastern, PA, as a Board member of the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board, as a member of the PA Labor and Industry Workers Compensation annual conference steering committee, and sponsoring the Bandits Baseball Club to four national championships.
Barney Oursler, Executive Director, Pittsburgh United, will receive the Keystone Research Center Susan C. Eaton Award, which recognizes individuals whose contribution as researchers, unionists, or other social change agents expresses the same moral constancy and practical idealism exemplified by Susan. In giving this award, KRC aims both to recognize the winners and to encourage others in the progressive community to strive in their own way to meet this standard. Barney assumed the leadership of Pittsburgh United in 2007 drawing on decades of experience organizing and winning economic justice initiatives and campaigns. His start began in the late 1960’s, organizing for student power in high school and college, as well as coordinating opposition to the Vietnam War. While in graduate school he led a 3 year staff union recognition campaign. Barney became a local union officer at United Steelworkers Union Local 2227 and organized in the ‘Steelworkers Fight Back’ movement in the 1970’s. He helped found the Mon Valley Unemployed Committee (MVUC) in the early 1980s which effectively mobilized thousands of workers to pass state and federal legislation over the next 25 years. As co-director of the MVUC he helped pass the only state law protecting unemployed people from mortgage foreclosure in the country and shaped Federal laws for trade-impacted workers. After building a statewide organization responding to Klan and Neo-Nazi activity in the state, Barney was a leader of a four-year Living Wage campaign for the Alliance for Progressive Action (local Jobs With Justice chapter).
Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley will receive KRC’s Citizen Activist Award, which honors the accomplishments of Pennsylvania’s community leaders and advocates. From Arab Spring to the Wisconsin protests and the Occupy movement, the last few years have reminded us that progressive social and political change depend on daily work of citizen activists who speak truth to power. By recognizing Pennsylvanians who take time out of their busy lives to work for public policies that serve the people of the state, KRC hopes to encourage more civic activism.
The Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV) was created in 1965 to work with and for the low-income residents of the Lehigh Valley in order to overcome poverty. A national program, Community Action was designed to offer “maximum feasible participation” to all whose lives would be touched by its activities. CACLV is, first and foremost, an advocacy organization, raising the issues that challenge lower-income people and their neighborhoods, making sure people in positions to solve those problems are aware of them, and bringing the many stakeholders together to seek a solution.
The mission of CACLV is to improve the quality of life by building a community in which all people have access to economic opportunity, the ability to pursue that opportunity, and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives. This is achieved through programs including Community Action Development Corporation of Allentown, Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem, Community Action Financial Services, Weatherization, Lehigh Valley Community Land Trust, Renew Lehigh Valley, Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, Second Harvest Food Bank, Sixth Street Shelter, West Ward Neighborhood Partnership, WorkReady, and On Track.