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A Union Man: The Life and Work of Julius Margolin

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Julius Margolin

Julius Margolin died shortly after his 93rd birthday. He was a legend in the New York City labor movement. He was active since the 1930s in the CIO, the National Maritime Union and Local 52 of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, which he has represented in the NYC Central Labor Council for 34 years. A tireless fighter for justice, equality, and against war, Julius embarked on a new career in 1999, making music and CDs with George Mann while still hitting picket lines and organizing workers in New York and around the United States.

The Film

“A Union Man” is the story of his life through his eyes as well as those he’s met along the way. Featuring guest appearances by Utah Phillips, Faith Petric and former NMU Vice President Joe Stack, as well as concert performances, it’s an affectionate portrait of a rank-and-file activist still fighting for justice in his tenth decade on this planet.

Director George Mann

A union organizer and activist for the past 15 years, George grew up playing in rock and roll bands on Long Island and in New York City. He has previously recorded four albums of his songs and performs for many unions and organizations. In the fall of 1997, Julius recruited him for the New York City Labor Chorus, and as the two got to know each other better, the idea of working with Julius to bring labor and folk music to the public was born. He is a producer of labor music and has his own music and CDs at www.georgemannmusic.com.

“I hope ‘A Union Man’ shows, among other things, the degree of love and admiration that so many people, of all ages, feel for this man. I want the film to make it into libraries and the classroom, to inspire people to learn more, work harder for justice, and love everyone around them just a little more,” says George Mann, film director and Julius’s musical partner since 1998.

George and Julius: Young and Younger

Performing a variety of original songs and favorites from the past century of folk music, George Mann and Julius Margolin combine social and labor history with songs and a dose of slapstick wherever they perform. From picket lines and union events to cafés and concert settings, George and Julius have been singing together since 1998. They have released three CDs, 1999’s “Young and Younger,” “Miles to Go Before We Sleep” (2000), and “Just A Few Bad Apples” (2003).

Audience members of all ages get a taste of labor history and the stories behind some of our best-loved songs, and the duo enjoys laughing at the bosses as well as each other onstage. Mann and Margolin are also songwriters, and their songs are strong commentaries on many contemporary issues, from gun violence (“Too Many Guns”), the aging process (“Don’t Let Age Get You Down”), and the plight of the working poor (“We Demand A Living Wage”) to the hardships facing workers (“Respect Construction Workers” and “Somebody Robbed the Pension Plan”).