Monday, March 31, 2020
Washington D.C.- It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Henry C. Gonzales. Brother Henry was an outstanding Latino leader, who dedicated his life to the promotion, protection and advancement of justice and equality for all workers.
In 1955 Henry C. Gonzales began working as a paint sprayer for General Motors in South Gate, joining the United Auto Workers International Union and climbing up the ranks. He rose to become Assistant Director of region 6, working alongside its Director, Bruce Lee. He became the 2nd highest ranking Latino in all of UAW. His negotiating skills for the union against the “Big 3” would win him the nickname “Hammerin’ Hank.”
In 1996 Henry became LCLAA’s fourth national president. His tenure- which ended in 2000- was a very prosperous one for our organization, as he ensured the growth and increase of chapters across the country, while also expanding the number of sisters and brothers committed to the advancement of Latino and immigrant issues.
Henry C. Gonzalez was elected to the South Gate City Council in 1982. A year later he became the mayor of South Gate. He passed away yesterday, and is survived by his wife, Theresa and two children, Regina and Henry. LCLAA will forever remember this tenacious man.
“Nuestro compañero Henry was a great trade unionist, a prominent politician, and above all, an outstanding human being,” said Yanira Merino, LCLAA National President. “He played a key role in the growth and development of our beloved organization. We will forever remember him, and cherish his memory.”
“-My word is my bond,- that was Henry’s life motto, and he abided by it rigorously,” said Oscar Sanchez, Former LCLAA Executive Director. “He was a strong and fearless man, who even survived a gunshot wound to the head. Hammerin Hank will forever live in our hearts and memories. Our thoughts and prayers go to his wife, Teresa and his family.”
“Brother Henry C. Gonzalez fought the good fight with justice, dignity and respect. His heart’s desire was always for the labor movement to move forward,” said Xochitl Cobarruvias, Los Angeles LCLAA Chapter President. “We must ensure to carry on his legacy, as we continue to lead with passion and commitment.”