Richard P. Hughes, Jr. who served as eighth president of the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO from July 2007 until July 2011, passed away on September 11, 2013 at age 79 in Baltimore, Maryland.Prior to his election as ILA president, he served as both Executive Vice President of the ILA and Secretary-Treasurer of the ILA’s Atlantic Coast District. He had first been elected ACD Secretary-Treasurer in July 2000 and later reelected in July 2003. In October 2005, Mr. Hughes was named the ILA’s Executive Vice President.
Previously, he served as General Vice-President of the Atlantic Coast District from 1989 to 2000 and ACD Vice President since 1985.
“The International Longshoremen’s Association is deeply saddened by the passing our President Richard P. Hughes, Jr., who served our ILA membership with distinction and honor for more than half a century,” said current ILA President Harold J. Daggett. “Rich Hughes’ accomplishments throughout his long career with the ILA were vast and his memory will endure.”
Richard Hughes was elected ILA President Emeritus at the union’s 2011 Convention.
Mr. Hughes is the eighth man to serve as president of the 121-year-old union. The ILA, first organized along the Great Lakes region in 1892, today represents more than 65,000 workers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Great Lakes, major U.S. rivers, Puerto Rico and Eastern Canada. The International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots; the United Marine Division Tugboat Workers; and Supreme Court Officers’ Association are all affiliated with the ILA.
Mr. Hughes came from a rich tradition of longshoremen and was a third generation ILA member. He went to work on the Baltimore docks as a young man in 1954, first joining ILA Local 1429. The Hughes family had emigrated from Ireland in the late 1800s, first settling in Western Pennsylvania where Richard Hughes’ grandfather, Martin Patrick Hughes, worked in the Pennsylvania coal mines. The Hughes family moved to the Baltimore area where Martin Hughes joined the newly formed ILA in the late 1890’s working as a coal trimmer.
Richard Hughes’ father and namesake was a grain trimmer, clerk and checker in the Port of Baltimore and his uncle, Mickey Hughes, was president of Baltimore ILA Local 953 over three decades from 1920 through the 1940s. Richard Hughes joined ILA Local 953 in 1957 and during the next five decades, he would serve in a variety of union-elected offices including Delegate, Business Agent, Recording Secretary, Vice President and President.
Hughes was elected Vice President on the Atlantic Coast Executive Board in 1985 representing the Port of Baltimore. He was re-elected to that post four times, including his elevation in 1989 to ACD General Vice President.
The ILA President also served as a Vice President on the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO where he was a member of the Federation’s International Affairs Committee and Legislative and Public Policy Committee. He also served on the Executive Councils of both the AFL-CIO’s Maritime Trades Department and Transportation Trades Department. Hughes was also an Executive Officer with the Dockers Section of the world-wide labor organization, the International Transport Workers Federation.
In his home Port of Baltimore, he previously served as Chairman of the Port’s Private Sector Committee, which brings together all facets of the maritime industry.
Mr. Hughes was a veteran of the United States Navy, where during his years of active duty in 1953-1955, he served 18 months aboard the U.S.S. Juneau.
Mr. Hughes was married to Wilma Anna “Babe” Hughes since 1957. They were the parents of five children: Karen, Kathleen, Richard, Brian, and Timothy. Mr. Hughes, a life-long resident of Baltimore also has eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Funeral details are pending.