At 101, Dedicated Union Rep is Calling it Quits

NEW YORK (AP) -

At 101, Charlie Ponti has finally decided to retire for good — probably.

On Dec. 31, he will officially finish up a 77-year stint with the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 153, where he started as a business representative and organizer and ended as the president of the local’s retirees association.

“I loved what I was doing. That made me work harder. I loved to help people,” said Ponti, who was celebrated at an association luncheon at a Manhattan restaurant this month.

The Rutherford, N.J., resident started working for what was then the Bookkeepers, Stenographers and Accountants Union in 1937. He remained an active member even when serving in the military during World War II.

Ponti’s long service has given him a front-row seat to the rising and falling fortunes of the American labor movement.

“We don’t believe he’s truly going to retire,” his son Charlie Jr. said. “After … January comes, I believe he’ll be back.”