Joseph F. Egan, 84, labor leader

Joseph F. Egan
Joseph F. Egan
Posted: March 21, 2014

Joseph F. Egan, 84, of Upper Darby, a labor leader in Southwest Philadelphia for many years, died Wednesday, March 12, of causes related to aging at his daughter's home in Woodbury, Gloucester County.

Mr. Egan was best known as the former president of Local 119, International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers. The bargaining unit he headed was based at the General Electric plant at 69th Street and Elmwood Avenue.

The plant opened in 1924 and made electric breakers and equipment used in power-generation systems. Its busiest years were the 1970s.

His family said Mr. Egan dedicated his career to championing the cause of the working man. He negotiated numerous contracts that led to higher wages and better working conditions for the rank and file.

In 1982, Mr. Egan was elected chairman of the IUE-General Electric Conference Board, where he provided leadership in negotiations, said his daughter Maureen Egan Alford. He brought those same bargaining skills home to joust with Alford, then a teenager. "At the end of the day, it all worked out," she said.

The plant closed in 2002, putting the last of the 7,000 employees out of work. By then, others had assumed leadership of the bargaining unit. Mr. Egan retired in 1990.

Born and raised in West Philadelphia, he graduated from St. Thomas More High School before enrolling in the Army. After his military service, he married the former Catherine "Kate" Logan. The two raised seven children at their home in Upper Darby.

Mr. Egan's "delightful sense of humor and quick wit" endeared him to those who knew him. "He was one of a kind," his daughter said."

Besides his daughter, he is survived by sons Joseph, Michael, Brian, and James; a daughter, Kathleen; six grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; a sister; nieces and nephews; and his friend Jeanette Pannett.

His wife and another daughter, Margaret "Mimi," died earlier.

Visitations will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 20, and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Friday, March 21, at the John P. Donohue Funeral Home, Walnut Street and Copley Road, Upper Darby.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be said at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Alice Church, across from the funeral home. The church, where he was a member for 60 years, merged with another last year, but is being reopened especially for Mr. Egan's funeral.

Interment is in SS Peter and Paul Cemetery.

Donations may be made to Sisters of St. Joseph Villa, 110 W. Wissahickon Ave., Flourtown, Pa. 19031.


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