On Sunday, April 12th, 2015 IFPTE Local 194 Business Manager, and long-time IFPTE union activist, Francis "Frank" A. Forst passed away in New Jersey.  He was 84.  Born in Philadelphia, and formerly of Pottstown, PA, he was a resident of Jamesburg for 50 years.

 A lifelong labor leader and Democrat, he spent his life advocating for social and economic justice for all working class people.

Frank was a vice president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO for 35 years.

As a labor organizer for the American Federation of Technical Engineers which later became known as the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), Frank was instrumental in organizing workers on New Jersey’s toll roads, including the Turnpike and Parkway. He was a leading voice of support for laws giving public employees the right to bargain, and was responsible for Local 194 being the first in the nation to see Martin Luther King Day become a contractually recognized holiday.

Frank was an organizer for the American Federation of Technical Engineers, which later became the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers. He was instrumental in organizing workers on all three of New Jersey's toll roads, as well as New Jersey state highway workers. He spent most of his career representing New Jersey Turnpike workers. Most recently, he served as assistant to the president of Local 194 and as secretary-treasurer and business manager of Local 194A, representing workers at the Burlington Bristol Bridge Commission. He was a vice president of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO for 35 years.

Among his numerous labor accomplishments, he helped separate the Public Employees Retirement System from Social Security, making it possible for workers to receive both. He also pushed to allow unions to collect dues and political action funds through a voluntary dues check-off, and helped public workers receive premium pay for overtime work.

He was one of the first commissioners on the Public Employee Relations Commission. He was a former Democratic State Committee and Middlesex County Committee member. He is a veteran of the Korean War and a member of the American Legion. He was a former member of the A. Philip Randolph Institute and the NAACP.

Officers of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) issued the following statements in response to Frank’s passing

IFPTE President Gregory Junemann: “Frank was a true giant in the cause of working people everywhere. His unbending resolve in fighting for civil rights, women's rights, and labor rights will forever stand as an inspiring model for all of us. He'll be sorely missed and will always be remembered.

IFPTE Secretary-Treasurer Paul Shearon: “Frank was a labor icon not only within the IFPTE family, but also to the entire State of New Jersey. In fact, in the late 1960’s, it was Frank who helped to write the very law that allowed public sector workers in the state to collectively bargain contracts. IFPTE members across the nation have, and will continue to benefit from, Frank’s great work for our union. All of us at IFPTE send our condolences to Frank’s family and friends.

IFPTE Local 195 President/Atlantic Council President Tim Rudolph: “For six decades, Frank has been a consistent and strong leader for the IFPTE family in New Jersey. Whether it was leading the charge against attacks on public sector workers by political ideologues or walking the picket lines with private sectors in our state, Frank has always given his time and energy to the causes of working people. IFPTE Local 195 sends their condolence to his daughter Fran and all of Frank’s loved ones.”

IFPTE Atlantic Area Vice President Gerald Newsome: “Frank is an irreplaceable advocate for our IFPTE family and working people all over the State of New Jersey. Over several decades, IFPTE Local 195 as well as other members throughout IFPTE has learned as labor leaders from Frank. His legacy also includes his hard charging daughter, Fran Ehret, a person who has paved a path as one our best labor leaders in her own right. All of us send our deepest condolences to Fran and her entire family.”

IFPTE Atlantic Area Vice President Sean McBride: “Frank has helped all of us here in the State of New Jersey throughout the years and even up to this current day; we are still benefiting from the many fights that Frank has led on our behalf. We will miss him greatly and send our condolences to his entire family.”

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