Trade unionist Joe Young loses battle with pneumonia
Funeral arrangements for retired Industrial Court judge and former trade union leader Joe Young are still being finalised.
Young, 80, died Tuesday morning, after battling pneumonia for several weeks.
Friend, colleague, understudy and current Industrial Court judge Gregory Rousseau yesterday recalled Young's life as a trade unionist.
"He was the last of the great trade union leaders. He was in the same league as (Tubal Uriah) Butler and (former Oilfields Workers' Trade Union leader George) Weekes," Rousseau said in a telephone interview yesterday.
He said Young wanted to form a union consistent with his outlook, one which served the interest of the workers. Young founded the Transport and Industrial Workers Union (TIWU) in 1962 and helped unionise bus drivers. He was praised as the man who fought for the relatively low prices of public transport that many enjoy today.
"Many of the benefits workers take for granted, Joe Young was responsible for them," he said.
Rousseau described Young as a self-taught man, who went on to teach others before and during his tenure at the Industrial Court.
Before joining the Industrial Court, Young was a member of the United Labour Front (ULF) with Weekes and former prime minister Basdeo Panday back in the 1970s and also stood as an opposition senator with the ULF for just over a year.
"This country has a funny way of using terms and throwing around cliches but it was Young who was a genius, an icon and a hero," Rousseau said.