José López was born and educated in Puerto Rico and came to New York City shortly after graduating from high school in 1949. José dedicated his life to lending a helping hand to all those in need. His career in the labor movement began while working at the Keg-O-Products Corp., which employed members of the Lamp and Shade Division of Local #3, IBEW.
In 1950, José enlisted in the United States Army, served as a platoon Sergeant in Korea, and was awarded a Purple Heart. Upon discharge, he returned to the electrical industry and became a Shop Steward in the BAL Division of Local #3. He served on the Negotiating, Advisory, and Pension Committees. In 1958 he attended the study tour of Puerto Rico and upon his return he helped to establish the Santiago Iglesias Educational Society of Local #3. He served as its President for many years. In 1967, he assisted in the founding of the Santiago Iglesias Credit Union and served as its President for four years and as Treasurer for two years.
José López was active in the Hispanic community all his life, he was appointed in 1966 by Governor Rockefeller to the State Board of Social Welfare. In addition, he also served as Board Member of the Puerto Rican Association for Community Affairs, the Hispanic Labor Committee, and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the Puerto Rican Folklore Fiesta, and as an organizer of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City.
In 1967, President George Meany, AFL-CIO, appointed José as Field Representative of Region # 7, which encompassed New York, New Jersey, and Puerto Rico. From 1968 through 1970, he was appointed to assist the United Farm Workers during their boycott of grapes. Through leafleting, speeches and fund raising, José helped organize consumer and union-member support, which provided farm workers in California their first union contract in 1970.
José López was a graduate of the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. School of Labor Studies, earning an Associate’s Degree in Labor Studies. José was a loyal, dedicated, union activist who was always held in high esteem by his colleagues in the trade union movement. José is survived by his wife Gloria; daughter, Nilda; sons, Edwin and José.