Member of the Assembly, 72nd AD
About Joel Block
Joel Block was born in Chicago and grew up in Skokie, Illinois. He is an identical twin [and also the father of identical twin sons!] His mother was a public school teacher and his father a statistician for the Federal Government.
Growing up in the 60’s, social activism became a prime activity. He led his high school district’s student inner-city tutoring program, coordinated by Northwestern University.
He attended the University of Michigan and became Sports Editor of its award-winning student newspaper, The Daily. In that role he successfully campaigned for the right of women reporters and photographers to have equal access to cover UM sports events.
As a student he was active in social causes from civil rights to prisoner’s rights; from peace movements to environmental movements. He then left school and became a blue-collar worker at the campus. He was a janitor, a truck maintenance mechanic, a bus washer, a delivery driver, and a hospital porter.
While working these jobs he was active as a local union shop steward, chief steward and vice-president. He also served on the Executive Board of the county AFL-CIO Central Labor Council.
In 1975, at age 27, he was elected President of his local union, The University of Michigan Employees Union [then the largest public employee local union in the state.] After a 28-day strike to preserve his members’ cost-of-living clause, he returned to school to get a BA degree in Labor Studies from Eastern Michigan University.
He went on to receive his JD degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles and served as a law clerk/extern for Judge Alfred T. Goodwin of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He then received an LLM degree in Labor Law from New York University School of Law. While at NYU he received the award for most outstanding student in his class.
Following law school and passing the California and New York bar exams, Block became the first in-house counsel for the NY News- paper Guild. He represented journalists at The New York Times, Reuters, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and other major news media.
He later went on to represent public employees and their unions in a wide variety of settings: IRS agents, police officers and firefighters, ATF officers, and local government employees.
He then worked as an attorney and administrator for The Writers Guild, representing and organizing west coast movie and television screenwriters, animation writers, and internet writers/designers.
Following his labor career, he served 10 years as a chief negotiator and advocate for The California State University. He negotiated state- wide labor contracts and handled other labor relations and human resource functions. He also taught part-time at UCLA Extension and at CSU Dominguez Hills.
Joel lives in Rossmoor and is married to Wendy Block, a Psychiatric Social Worker. Now retired, he has been a parent leader in the local schools, PTA and community activities.
Support your community; Vote Joel Block for Assembly on November 4th.