Phyllis Ohlemacher and Bob Wages have been involved with Public Citizen since it’s early days in the 1970s. Both worked for the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union (OCAW). OCAW’s Legislative Director at the time, Tony Mazzocchi, was a well-known advocate for worker health and safety who worked closely with Ralph Nader, Sid Wolfe, and others at Public Citizen. Phyllis and Bob and the staff came to know Public Citizen and Ralph Nader, a beloved speaker at many union conventions and conferences.
Over the years, Phyllis and Bob would find that their union work intersected with Public Citizen’s work time and time again—from fighting for worker protections with Sid Wolfe and the Health Research Group to fighting global trade deals with Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Group to working with Alan Morrison and Public Citizen’s Litigation Group.
OCAW would prove to be fertile ground for another partnership as well, as Phyllis and Bob met there in 1976. They were married in 1991—a big year for the two as Bob was also elected president of OCAW in that year’s August Convention. Nader was a speaker at the event and Phyllis remembers Mazzocchi introducing him as “the shop steward of the American People.” Nader’s speech focused on the corporate takeover of America.
For fun, Phyllis and Bob like to bike, hike, and ski. In the last year, they have become avid snow-hikers to avoid the ski slopes during the pandemic. They also love to read, cook, and travel. Each year, they split their time between Denver and Frisco, Colorado.