Thomas Cronin to Head Labor Institute at SJU

Friday, January 11, 2008

PHILADELPHIA (January 11, 2008) - Veteran Philadelphia labor leader Thomas Paine Cronin has been named director of the Comey Institute of Industrial Relations at Saint Joseph's University.

Cronin, who most recently served as president of District Council 47 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), will develop new courses and curriculum for the Institute, which offers affordable education programs to workers and managers on an array of workplace issues.

"I am delighted that Tom has accepted the offer to become director of the Comey Institute," said William Madges, Ph.D., dean of of the College of Arts and Sciences at Saint Joseph's. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and decades of labor experience that will reinvigorate the Institute in achieving its mission, a mission that reflects our Catholic values — the promotion of truth, human rights and the common good — and advances the University's educational mission — promoting in its students a love of learning, moral discernment, and a transforming commitment to social justice."

The Comey Institute was founded in 1943 by Dennis J. Comey, S.J., on the site of Saint Joseph's Preparatory School in Philadelphia to involve workers and supervisors in the city's thriving manufacturing industry in learning about issues affecting them and resolving labor-management differences through understanding. Known as "the waterfront priest," Fr. Comey became the city's chief labor arbitrator during the 1950s and 60s. In 1963, the Institute moved to Saint Joseph's University (then known as Saint Joseph's College). Throughout its 65-year history, the Comey Institute has combined the resources of labor unions, law firms and other professional organizations to support the study of collective bargaining, union organizing and workplace jurisprudence.

"I am excited to have this opportunity to further advance the work of the Comey Institute by expanding its programs to address such critical issues as globalization, trade policy, privatization and outsourcing and to understand their impact on the contemporary labor environment," Cronin said.

"In many ways, this is a logical extension of the work I was doing as head of DC 47."

Cronin received a bachelor's degree from Cheyney University.

Media Contact

Harriet K. Goodheart, Assistant Vice President for University Communications, 610-660-1532;

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