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Patrick H. Reagan (Barbers Lo. 246)

He is Pat Reagan to his friends and because he has hundreds and hundreds of friends he is Pat to nearly everybody he knows. From the very beginning of the Union movement among Rochester barbers, Pat has been active, so active, in fact, that nearly all his life has been spent in promoting the welfare of barbers through not only the city and state but throughout the country as well.

Pat is Patrick Henry Reagan, the only living charter member of the Journeymen Barbers’ International Union, No. 246. He and his brother, now dead, organized this Local 27 years ago. He came to Rochester when he was 20 years old from Frankfort, Ontario, where he was born. His first job in this city was as a clerk for the A. and P. store at 210 Main Street, east. Clerking did not suit Pat so he entered the barber business, working for three years in a shop on Portland Avenue. After serving his apprenticeship, he saw the necessity of organizing. Barbers not only worked long hours for short pay but were surrounded by poor conditions and there was no Union to remedy this situation in the city.

It was then that Pat decided to organize a Union. With the aid of his brother he did so and today is the only living charter member of that organization. He was elected Secretary and Business Agent of the Local immediately upon organization. He represented the Union in the Central Trades and Labor Council for 25 years. His work became so outstanding that in 1917 he was elected president of the New York State Journeymen Barbers’ Association and held that office for four years. He was then elected secretary and treasurer of the organization and served for seven years, resigning in August, 1928.

Long before this time he began service with the International Union when he was elected on the Executive Board of that body back in about 1918. He still retains that post and is also vice-president of that organization. A short time ago he joined the organizing staff of the International and today his chief work is with that Department of the International Union.

One of the outstanding achievements in the career of Pat came when he was secretary of the State organization. Barbers in New York City and Saratoga Springs were forced to work seven days a week. Pat went to Albany and prepared a bill which was meant to close all barber shops on Sunday. This bill finally became a law and the result was that about 40,000 barbers in the State had a day of rest in seven.

At the convention held in September, 1929, Pat was elected a delegate to the American Federation of Labor for a term of five years. About a year ago he gave up his office with Local 246 in order to spend all his time in International work. He was succeeded as secretary by Louis Kment, one of the younger leaders in Rochester’s labor movement, but Pat still makes this city his headquarters and always takes a friendly interest in the doings of Local 246.

Pat is one of the oldest labor leaders in Rochester. He was born in Frankfort, Ontario, March 7, 1873 and celebrated his fifty-seventh birthday yesterday. When he first came to this city and decided on a career as a barber he found conditions so poor, wages so low and the hours so long that he determined then and there to devote all his time if necessary to the improvement of these conditions. It was a hard struggle from the very beginning. Slowly, but surely, however, conditions improved, and the membership of the Union increased as barbers throughout the city learned that in Pat Reagan they had a friend who was working day and night to make things better for them.

Pat has always been an enemy of unclean shops. He started a movement to have these shops come under the law and many are the shops he caused to be closed because of his activities along these lines. In this respect he is the unknown friend of hundreds and thousands of patrons of barber shops who never know the real conditions behind some of the shops they patronize. Every shop that applied for a Union card was forced to adhere strictly to the rules of cleanliness and this because Pat insisted that all Union shops be as clean as possible if they desired to continue in the Union.

Pat Reagan resides at No. 509 Seward Street and is married. He has no children.

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