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TOM KAHN OBITUARY

 TOM KAHN OBITUARY
 WASHINGTON, March 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Tom Kahn, AFL-CIO international


affairs director and a strategist for workers' movements around the world, died Friday night at his suburban Washington residence. He died of complications resulting from AIDS. He was 53.
 Kahn worked with leaders of labor and human rights struggles around the world. He played a major role in bringing to the AFL-CIO headquarters such now-famous leaders as Lech Walesa, Nelson Mandela, Boris Yeltsin, Andrei Sakharov, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
 Kahn became an assistant to AFL-CIO President George Meany in 1973 and served Lane Kirkland in that capacity and as an envoy overseas before he was named international affairs director in August 1986. Because of his health, he resigned as director earlier in March.
 "Workers who struggle around the world to form free trade unions have lost a staunch friend and ally," Kirkland said. "All of us will miss Tom as an incisive thinker and an effective advocate of our contention that workers cannot prosper without free, democratic institutions of their own design."
 Kahn was central to the AFL-CIO support of the Polish trade union Solidarnosc when money and printing equipment had to be smuggled into Poland after Solidarnosc was suppressed in December 1981.
 Kahn addressed the founding convention of the free, democratic union that emerged in Hungary in 1989 and worked closely with leaders forming similar free unions throughout Central and Eastern Europe. He was instrumental in lining up U.S. aid to the miners' strike committees in the Soviet Union which evolved into full-fledged, democratic unions.
 The son of a New York City local union officer of the Utility Workers of America, Kahn was born Sept. 15, 1938. He graduated from Howard University in 1961.
 He began his career in close association with civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, the coordinator of the 1963 March on Washington. Kahn was the 24-year-old first assistant to Rustin during the 1963 march and drafted the original plan for the march.
 Also in collaboration with Rustin, Kahn helped develop the "From Protest to Politics" theme of the late 1960s which set forth the need for labor and civil rights cooperation to achieve a fully integrated society. With that thesis, Rustin and Kahn came into sharp conflict with the Black Power movement they saw as separatist.
 A lifelong opponent of apartheid, Kahn organized annual U.S. observances of the 1960 Sharpeville massacre and directed support of emerging black unions in South Africa.
 Kahn was also instrumental in the formation of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. Under the guidance of Randolph and Rustin, Kahn helped to organize the 1957 Prayer Pilgrimage and the 1958-59 Youth Marches for Integrated Schools in the era when Rustin was assisting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Montgomery bus boycott. Kahn was arrested four times in various non-violent civil rights demonstrations.
 Before joining the AFL-CIO, Kahn served as executive director of the League for Industrial Democracy from 1964 to 1972 and as chief speechwriter to U.S. Sen. Henry (Scoop) Jackson in 1972.
 As AFL-CIO international affairs director, Kahn mounted an effective outreach program -- including a speaker's bureau, regional conferences and new publications and newsletters -- to explain labor's foreign affairs programs to local officers of U.S. unions.
 He is survived by his longtime companion Alain Fournier of Silver Spring, Md., a sister, Rosemary Colville of San Luis Obispo, Calif., and a niece, Ann Colville of Santa Barbara, Calif.
 -0- 3/28/92
 /CONTACT: Rex Hardesty of the AFL-CIO, 301-469-7140, or 202-637-5010 (office)/ CO: AFL-CIO ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


CK-CP -- NYSA005 -- 2629 03/28/92 15:05 EST
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Date:Mar 28, 1992
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