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U.P. Labor Hall of Fame inducts three

MARQUETTE — On Oct. 11, trade unionists, family and friends will gather to induct MEA member Stu Skauge, USW member Tommy Spencer and AFSCME member Shana Thornton into the Upper Peninsula Labor Hall of Fame during the banquet and induction ceremony in the ballrooms of the Northern Center on NMU’s campus. The Inductees are being recognized for their lifelong dedication to improving the lives of working men and women in the Upper Peninsula.

Skauge was a classroom teacher for 33 years. He was a member of the Michigan Education Association (MEA) for 46 years and served as president elect, president, and chief negotiator for his bargaining unit in the Marquette Area Public Schools for over 25 years. He became the MEA UniServ director in Marquette and Alger Counties for 10 years before his retirement. He continues to be active with the MEA retired organization. He is a committed and involved member of his community, as a past and current council member for the city of Ishpeming, an officer of the organization that plans the Ishpeming 4th of July celebration and holds active memberships in the Rotary club of Ishpeming, the Cliff’s Shaft Mining Museum, the Ishpeming Elks and the Hiawatha Radio Association. He also served his country as a sergeant E-5 in the Korean War and is a life member and past commander of the Ishpeming VFW.

Spencer was a USW member for 38 year before his retirement. He was a leader, trainer and activist for on the job Health and Safety and became the Company Committee Safety Chairperson. He helped to establish the Steelworkers Coalition. He was one of the original planners of the Worker Memorial Day event. He has spent hundreds of hours of volunteer time to various labor events with his own local and the Marquette County Labor Council, AFL-CIO. Spencer is currently the president of the Cliff’s Shaft Mining Museum Board. Spencer has been very active in community service throughout his life; a previous member of the Negaunee Township Building and Recreation Committee and raising money for Bay Cliff Health Camp through his work with the Harley Owners Group (HOG).

Shana Thornton began her career as a teacher’s aide, but quickly became a union activist, steward, chapter chair and local president in her local. She became a Staff Representative for AFSCME and went on to be the Director of Field Services for AFSCME Council 25 supervising 23 Staff Representatives across Michigan. She was the first and only woman to serve as president of the Marquette County Labor Council. Also, she was involved with the U.P. Labor-Management Council and chair of the Labor Advisory and Planning Committee. Thornton served on two statewide organizations, the Michigan AFL-CIO General Board and the Michigan Labor-Management Council, as a U.P. representative. She was an activist / member, executive committee member and precinct delegate to the Marquette County Democratic Party.

The event starts at 5 p.m. and is open to the public, labor organizations and friends of Stu Skauge, Tommy Spencer and Shana Thornton. Tickets are available by contacting Alex Gustafson at 906-553-9405 or by email at uprlfcoord@gmail.com.