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In 1938 a small band of courageous employees of the Hershey Chocolate Corporation met on April 26th in the Little Theatre of the Community Building to form a local union. It was during a period of gloom. The employees had just emerged from a disastrous sit down strike conducted by the C.I.O. The employer was triumphant. The world knew Hershey for two things: one, as a company town where paternalism flourished, and two, a shortened unsuccessful effort by the C.I.O. to introduce trade unionism. The C.I.O.'s effort resulted in disasters. Hershey workers abandoned hope of ever bringing a free and unintimidated union to the Chocolate town.

It was in this atmosphere that the Bakery and Confectionery Workers' International Union of America A.F. of L. granted a charter for a local union on April 29, 1938. The local was named the Hershey Chocolate Workers' Local and numbered 464. These workers had no money and little experience. However, they had determination! They were determined to build an organization that would give them the right to say and do something about the conditions under which the people worked. They stuck together. They struggled to win a place in the Labor movement for themselves. Out of this struggle our union was born. Today we have a membership of more than 4,000 members. We have Collective Bargaining agreements that are hailed as outstanding. WE are one of the largest organizations in Hershey. The community holds us in high regard and our membership as proud and secure. WE are a vital and living part of the American Trade Union movement.

On our Fiftieth Anniversary, John DeConcini, President of the Bakery, Confectionary, and Tobacco Workers' International Union stated, I was responsible for servicing this local in the early days of my career with the International Union. It, therefore, gives me great pleasure to reflect on its history and comment on its accomplishments. While the history of BC&T Local 464 is comparatively short compared to other local unions, their achievements are outstanding. To look back on the record of this local union, including the trials and tribulations that it had to face, one cannot help but admire the gains secured and the great progress that BC&T Local 464 has made.

I consider BC&T Local 464 to be one of our most democratic, progressive, and innovative local unions. It is a local union that is actively involved in the education of its members, organizing, political action, and community services. A consequence of its activism is that its outstanding reputation goes far beyond the borders of Hershey, PA.

Our members actively participate in community groups such as Boy and Girl Scouts, Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, local youth sports such as baseball, basketball, football, wrestling, and others, food banks, the United Way, and the American Red Cross. Our local was the recipient of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Boyer-Uehlein Community Services Award in 1998.

Our union has the longest, continuous relationship with a higher-education institution in Pennsylvania. We believe that education is the key to empowerment. Knowledge is part of the power which creates a strong and vibrant union.Our committee on Political Education (C.O.P.E) constantly informs and educates our members on the issues that affect working families every day. Our local received the BCTGM PAC Award at the International Convention held in 2002.