New Jersey labor leader dies at 32

September 7, 2009 5:06:35 PM PDT
Richard F. Cunningham Jr., a dynamic New Jersey labor leader who helped found an organization for low-wage, immigrant workers as well as started a punk rock record label has died. He was 32. Diagnosed with colon cancer in 2005, Cunningham succumbed to the disease on Friday. His death was confirmed by the Crabile Home for Funerals, Milltown.

The Rev. Joseph Kerrigan, a New Brunswick pastor who officiated at Cunningham's Labor Day funeral service, says the Livingston native combined his strong Catholic faith and union organizing roots to build the New Labor organization into a group of more than 1,500 dues-paying members.

Cunningham graduated with a labor studies degree from Rutgers University in 1999. He formed Happy Days Records in 1995.

He lived in Milltown with his wife and twin 2-year-old daughters.

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