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Leaders of American trade unions


Ben Rubin (legislator)

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Ben Rubin (legislator)

Ben Rubin (December 20, 1886 – February 24, 1942) was a cigar maker, zookeeper, union activist and member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from Milwaukee who served four terms. He was elected in 1930 and served one term as a Socialist. He was later elected as a Progressive on a fusion ticket, serving for six years (1937–1942).[1] Rubin's district had the largest concentration of African-Americans in Wisconsin, and he was the author of a number of civil rights bills on topics such as insurance,[2] employment by regulated utilities, and public accommodations.[3] Background Rubin was born December 20, 1886, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended public school to the age of ten, when he became an apprentice in a cigar factory. He worked as cigar maker up to 1919, and during these years was a member of and served offices in the Cigar Makers' Union. In 1919, he went to work as a zookeeper in the Washington Park Zoological Garden. When first elected to the Assembly in 1930 he had been president of the Building S

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Politicians from Pittsburgh

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Politicians from Milwaukee

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Edward Sadlowski

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Edward Sadlowski

Edward Sadlowski (September 10, 1938 – June 10, 2018) was an American labor activist associated with "Steelworkers Fightback", a rank-and-file movement against corruption in the international United Steelworkers of America union. Sadlowski became the youngest president of his local union at U.S. Steel's South Works , later served as Director of District 31 (the union's largest district, encompassing Chicago and Gary, Indiana), and became known nationally during his unsuccessful attempt to become the international Union's president in 1977.[1] Early and family life Edward Eugene Sadlowski was born on September 10, 1938 in Chicago, Illinois. His father helped organize labor at the Inland Steel Company. Sadlowski left school in the eleventh grade and joined the United States Army during the Korean War.[2] He married Marlene Sadlowski, who survived him, as did their son Edward Sadlowski Jr. and daughters Susan Sadlowski Garza, Patricia Hoyt and Diane Agelson.[3] Career In 1956, Sadlowski started work as a ma

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American trade unionists of Polish descent

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Labor unionists from Illinois

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Sal Rosselli

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Sal Rosselli

Sal Rosselli (born 1949, New York City) is president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers. He was the president of SEIU United Healthcare Workers West until 2009, when the local union was placed into trusteeship by its parent union, SEIU. NUHW was formed by Rosselli and former members of UHW-West following the trusteeship. UHW-West's leadership had refused to support the transfer of 65,000 homecare and nursing home workers into a different SEIU local union.[1] The local had also been critical of deals struck by SEIU that prohibited nursing home employees from reporting safety concerns to authorities.[2][3] After a brief standoff, SEIU International President Andy Stern placed UHW-West in trusteeship, removing its leaders and appointing two senior SEIU staff members to run the local. The ousted leaders, together with other disgruntled members, announced the formation of NUHW just days later.[1]> SEIU filed a federal lawsuit against NUHW and several former SEIU-UHW staff members in 2009, alleging they b

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Service Employees International Union people

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American trade unionists

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Vincent Saint John

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Vincent Saint John

Vincent Saint John (1876–1929) was an American labor leader and prominent Wobbly, among the most influential radical labor leaders of the 20th century. Biography St. John was born in Newport, Kentucky and was the only son of New York City native Silas St. John and Irish immigrant Marian "Mary" Cecilia Magee. He had a sister two years younger named Helen. The family moved frequently, Silas going wherever he could to find employment as a clerk or bookkeeper. St. John worked as a miner from the age of seventeen, moving to Telluride, Colorado in 1897. In 1900 St. John became president of the Western Federation of Miners' Union Local 63 at Telluride. He led the 1901 strike in that mining camp to a successful conclusion, gaining a standard minimum wage for the miners. He was shadowed by Pinkertons hired by the Mine Operators' Association, stalked by gunmen, had a price on his head, was arrested and charged with crimes he never committed, and was condemned by the anti-labor press as a "murderer." Bulkeley Wells

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Industrial Workers of the World leaders

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American miners

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Don Saltsman

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Don Saltsman

Donald L. Saltsman (December 15, 1933 – July 3, 2014)[1] was an American politician from Peoria, Illinois.[2] Born in Peoria, Illinois,[2] Saltsman went to Illinois Central College and the University of Illinois.[3] He was a firefighter for the city of Peoria from 1956 to 1984, and president of the Firefighters' Local 50 for 12 years.[1] Saltsman was elected to the 92nd District seat of the Illinois House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1980, taking office in 1981 and remaining until he was narrowly defeated in the 1996 Democratic primary election by Ricca Slone.[2] He died in Peoria, Illinois[2] and buried at Peoria's Resurrection Mausoleum.[1] References "Donald L. Saltsman". Houston, Texas: Service Corporation International. Retrieved 2014-08-17. Bruch, Thomas (July 3, 2014). "Don Saltsman, longtime Peoria state rep, dies at 80". Journal Star. Peoria, Illinois. Retrieved July 13, 2014. "Representative, 92nd District: Donald L. Saltsman, D - Peoria". Illinois Blue Book, 1995-1996. Springfi

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American firefighters

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William Schallert

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William Schallert

William Schallert and Orson Bean in "Mr. Bevis", a 1960 episode ofThe Twilight Zone William Joseph Schallert[1] (July 6, 1922 – May 8, 2016) was an American character actor who appeared in dozens of television shows and movies over a career that spanned almost 60 years.[2] Early life and career William Schallert was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Edwin Francis Schallert, a longtime drama critic for the Los Angeles Times, and Elza Emily Schallert (née Baumgarten), a magazine writer and radio host.[1] He began acting while a student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles but left to become an Army Air Corps fighter pilot in World War II. He returned to UCLA after the war and graduated in 1946.[3][4] In 1946, he helped found the Circle Theatre with Sydney Chaplin and several fellow students. In 1948, Schallert was directed by Sydney's father, Charlie Chaplin, in a staging of W. Somerset Maugham's Rain.[5] Schallert appeared in supporting roles on numerous television programs st

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Hector E. Sanchez

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Hector E. Sanchez

Hector E. Sanchez is the Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)[3] and Chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda.[4] References "AFL-CIO: We Stand in Solidarity with Migrant Workers". aflcio.org. Retrieved 2015-05-10. "Hector E. Sanchez - LatinasRepresent". latinasrepresent.org. Retrieved 2015-05-10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "National Hispanic Leadership Agenda". nationalhispanicleadership.org. Retrieved 2015-05-07.

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University of Texas at El Paso alumni

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Harold A. Schaitberger

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Harold A. Schaitberger

Harold Allen Schaitberger (born June 24, 1946) is an American labor leader who has served as General President of the International Association of Firefighters since 2000. Harold A. Schaitberger is the ninth president in the IAFF’s 100-year history, and was the first to have been elected by acclamation in 2000. He was re-elected to another four-year term in August 2016.[1] Under his leadership, the IAFF’s Political Action Committee, FIREPAC, has grown to more than $4.6 million and ranks among the top one percent of PACs in the nation. Schaitberger has focused on ensuring that the IAFF supports candidates and lawmakers who are friendly to firefighters and their issues, regardless of political party. Prior to Schaitberger's first election as IAFF General President, Harold Schaitberger had served on the union's headquarters staff as a top advisor to three IAFF Presidents since 1976, and as President of the Virginia Professional Firefighters union since 1973. In 1970, he was elected as the first president of th

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Alexander Saxton

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Alexander Saxton

Alexander Plaisted Saxton (July 16, 1919 – August 20, 2012) was an American historian, novelist, and university professor. He was the author of the pioneering Indispensable Enemy (1975), one of the founding texts in Asian American studies. Life and works Saxton was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts to Eugene and Martha Saxton, one of two children.[1] His older brother was the author Mark Saxton (1914–1988).[1] His father became the editor in chief of Harper & Brothers, his mother taught literature at a private girls' school in Manhattan.[1] Saxton was raised on the East Side of Manhattan, his parents were known to have famous writers over for dinner such as Thornton Wilder and Aldous Huxley.[1] He attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard (John F. Kennedy was a classmate), but dropped out in his junior year to become a laborer in Chicago.[1] He said he wanted to see "how people live in the other America — the real America."[1] After dropping out of Harvard, Saxton made the intentional transit

American male writers who committed suicide

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Leaders of American trade unions

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Historians from Massachusetts

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Richard Schneirov

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Richard Schneirov

Richard Schneirov (born 1948) is a professor of history and noted labor historian at Indiana State University. Early life and education Schneirov attended Grinnell College from 1966 to 1968, where he helped found and lead that school's chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). He also started the underground newspaper "Pterodactyl." He transferred to the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he received a bachelor's degree in 1971. He obtained a master's degree in history in 1975 and a Ph.D. in history in 1984, both from Northern Illinois University. Career Schneirov was named a Fulbright Scholar after receiving his doctorate. During the 1985 to 1986 academic year, he lectured at the Institut Fur England und Amerikastudien at the University of Frankfurt in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He returned to Germany in 2011, where he taught at Westfallische Wilhelms-Universitat in Muenster. In 1986, Schneirov won appointment as an adjunct professor at The Ohio State University. In 1989, Schneirov wa

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Benjamin Schlesinger

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Benjamin Schlesinger

Benjamin "Ben" Schlesinger was a Lithuanian-born American trade union official and newspaper office manager. Schlesinger is best remembered as the nine-time President of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, serving from 1903–1907, again from 1914–1923, and finally from 1928 until his death in 1932. He was also the managing editor of The Jewish Daily Forward from 1907-1912 and the resident manager of the Chicago edition of that publication beginning in 1923. Biography Early years Benjamin Schlesinger was born December 25, 1876, in Kaidan, Lithuania, which was then part of the Russian empire. He was the son of Nechemiah Ariowitz and Judith Schlesinger, and attended the local Cheder. His grandfather, Simcha, was Rabbi in Racinn, Lithuania. His father died when he was four and his mother some years later in 1909. He emigrated with an older brother to this country in 1891, settling in Chicago. Schlesinger's first job after his arrival in Chicago was peddling matches but, a few weeks later, he was e

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George A. Schilling

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George A. Schilling

George A. Schilling (1850 - 1936) was a prominent American union leader and Georgist in the late nineteenth century. He was also active in Anarchist circles.[1] From 1865 to the 1890s, Schilling worked in Chicago for the Arbeiter Zeitung, a German-language newspaper with socialist (and later, anarchist) leanings. He made his mark in the Chicago labor movement as a member of the cooper's union and a leader of the Knights of Labor. In 1886, he was a prominent supporter of the Labor Party in Illinois. In 1886, the Labor Party endorsed John Altgeld for a judgeship, which Altgeld won.[2] In 1892, Schilling endorsed Altgeld in a successful race for Governor of Illinois.[3] In 1893, he was appointed by Governor Altgeld as secretary on the State Board of Labor Commissioners, and in 1903 he was appointed by Altgeld to the Chicago Board of Local Improvements.[2] In 1919 Schilling was a signatory to the call to establish the Committee of 48, a liberal political organization which sought to establish a third party in A

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American trade unionists

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Rose Schneiderman

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Rose Schneiderman

Rose Schneiderman (April 6, 1882 – August 11, 1972) was a Polish-born American socialist and feminist, and one of the most prominent female labor union leaders. As a member of the New York Women's Trade Union League, she drew attention to unsafe workplace conditions, following the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, and as a suffragist she helped to pass the New York state referendum of 1917 that gave women the right to vote. Schneiderman was also a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union and served on the National Recovery Administration's Labor Advisory Board under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. She is credited with coining the phrase "Bread and Roses," to indicate a worker's right to something higher than subsistence living. Early years Rose Schneiderman was born Rachel Schneiderman on April 6, 1882,[a] the first of four children of a religious Jewish family, in the village of Sawin, 14 kilometres (9 miles) north of Chełm in Russian Poland. Her parents, Samuel and Deborah (Rothman)

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Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

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Theodore Schaffer

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Theodore Schaffer

Theodore Schaffer (born 1856) was president of the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers, republican, Methodist. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1856, raised there, and educated in the public schools. His father, Mathias F. Shaffer, is a native of Karlsruhe, Germany, and came to the States as a young man, in 1847. Theodore Schaffer began selling papers when he was eight years old, and left school at the age of twelve, but afterwards, when nineteen years old, resumed his studies, and later attended the Western University, now University of Pittsburgh. When fourteen years old he began work in the iron mill of Moorhead, McLean & Co., of Pittsburgh, remaining there a year and a half, and then worked until 1872 at the Penn forge (Everson, Preston & Co.) iron mill. He was employed by the same company for a time in a new mill at Scottdale, Pennsylvania, but returned and again worked at the Penn forge. He next spent three years in the employ of Bradley, Rice & Co., returni

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Alex Shandrowsky

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Alex Shandrowsky

Alexander A. Shandrowsky (Born August 1, 1950) is a former American labor union leader from Baltimore, Maryland. He was elected President of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, AFL-CIO in 1995 and served in that position until 1998. Sources Fairplay, Fairplay Publications Ltd. (1997) p. 15 Famighetti, Robert (ed). World Almanac and Book of Facts. World Almanac Books (1999) p. 153. ISBN 0-88687-832-2

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Veda Shook

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Veda Shook

Veda Shook is the former International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO.[1] An Alaska Airlines flight attendant since 1991, she previously served as AFA's International Vice President for a term beginning January 1, 2007. Today, AFA-CWA represents nearly 60,000 flight attendants at 23 airlines. She was one of the 53 members of the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO.[2] Early career Shook has been a flight attendant with Alaska Airlines since June 7, 1991. Soon after beginning her career, Veda organized with fellow Portland Flight Attendants to gain local status within the union for the Portland flight attendant base and became the local president of AFA's Portland council.[3] She organized the Volunteer Organizers for Information, Communication and Education (VOICE) committee, and employed the VOICE committee.[4] Organizing Shook was recruited to help with AFA’s organizing campaign at Delta Air Lines even before she became president of the Alaska MEC. As a union organizer, she

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Flight attendants

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William Sidell

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William Sidell

William Sidell (30 May 1915 – 2 October 1994) was a carpenter and an American labor leader. He was president of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America from 1973 to 1979. He was born in Chicago to Samuel and Fannie (Freeman) Sidell. His father was a cabinetmaker. The family moved to Los Angeles, California, where Sidell graduated from public high school. He apprenticed as a carpenter, and in 1939 joined the local in Los Angeles. He married his wife, Frankie, in 1936 and the couple had three children. In 1948, he was elected business manager of Local 721 in Los Angeles, and in 1957 secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles District Council of Carpenters. He served as a trustee for the Carpenters Health and Welfare Fund for Southern California, and as a pension trustee for the Carpenters Pension Trust for Southern California. In 1963, he was elected a vice president of the Carpenters union and served on the general executive board. In 1964, he was elected second vice president, and moved t

Leaders of American trade unions

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Albert Shanker

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Albert Shanker

Albert Shanker (September 14, 1928 – February 22, 1997) was president of the United Federation of Teachers from 1964 to 1985 and president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) from 1974 to 1997. Early life Shanker was born on Manhattan’s Lower East Side (New York City)[1] to a Russian Jewish immigrant family. As a toddler, his family moved to Long Island City, in Queens.[2] His parents, Mamie and Morris Shanker, were emigrants from Poland. Both were union members; his father was a union newspaper deliveryman, and his mother, who operated a sewing-machine in a knitting factory, was a member of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. The Shanker family's deeply held political views were staunchly pro-union, following the socialism of Norman Thomas and including ardent support of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. The experience of watching his mother work 70-hour weeks made Shanker aware from an early age that there was a need for societal changes. Shanker read several newspapers daily as a y

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Troy Singleton

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Troy Singleton

Troy Singleton (born June 30, 1973)[1] is an American Democratic Party politician who has served in the New Jersey Senate, representing the 7th Legislative District since January 9, 2018. He previously served in the New Jersey General Assembly from November 21, 2011 to January 9, 2018. Early Life Singleton was born on June 30, 1973, in Philadelphia, raised in Willingboro Township, New Jersey and currently resides in Palmyra.[2] He earned a B.S. degree in business administration from Rowan University. He is a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 715 and serves as President of the New Jersey Carpenter Contractor Trust.[1]He has been a commissioner of the Burlington County Bridge Commission since 2009, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority Commission (2009–11), and the Rowan University Board of Trustees (2009–11). He was deputy executive director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee in 2001. He is also a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of Am

Leaders of American trade unions

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New Jersey State Senators

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Morris Sigman

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Morris Sigman

Morris Sigman (1880–1931) was president of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union from 1923 to 1928. Biography Early life Born in Akkerman (then in Bessarabia Province of the Russian Empire), Morris Sigman spent his youth working as a lumberjack before moving to London in 1902. In 1903, Sigman emigrated to New York City and began work as a presser in the cloak industry. He organized the Independent Cloak and Skirt Pressers' Union (1904) and allied it with the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance. In 1905, the Independent Cloak and Skirt Pressers' Union was one of the founding unions of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), but by 1908, the union had left the IWW and joined the ILGWU. Work with the ILGWU Shortly after joining the ILGWU, Morris Sigman began to hold local and national roles within the union. Sigman had been heavily involved in the garment workers' strikes of 1910, and was later arrested for murder in what became known as the "Trial of Seven Cloakmakers." With Morris Hillquit as

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Levi D. Slamm

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Levi D. Slamm

Levi D. Slamm (1812 – October 6, 1862, Mamaroneck, New York) was an American labor leader, the editor of the Daily Plebeian,[1] a radical Democrat[2] and a leader of New York City's Locofocos.[3] Slamm was born in New York City,[4] the son of a Revolutionary War veteran and a grocer.[5] Slamm followed in his father's profession but eventually became a locksmith.[6] As a young man in 1830, Slamm sailed aboard the Corvo from Boston under Capt. Jeremiah Spalding in August, together with Samuel Colt, the firearms inventor,[7] and apparently they became fast friends.[8] When the economic troubles of the 1830s began, he joined the Locofocos and soon became one of the most influential, in part through his publication of the radical periodical the Daily Plebeian.[9] The New York Herald nicknamed the Locofocos "Slamm, Bang, and Company" in reference to Levi and another party leader, Henry Bangs.[10] In 1838, together with Locofocos Alexander Ming Jr. and Charles Ferris, Slamm struck a deal with the Tammany Hall Gener

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Ferdinand Smith

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Ferdinand Smith

Ferdinand Smith while National Secretary of the National Maritime Union Ferdinand Smith (5 May 1893 – 14 August 1961) was a Jamaican-born Communist labor activist. A prominent activist in the United States and the West Indies, Smith co-founded the National Maritime Union with Joseph Curran and M. Hedley Stone. By 1948 he was wanted by the U.S. Immigration Service for deportation, and is remembered as one of the most powerful black labor leaders in U.S. history.[1][2][3][4][5][6] Background Ferdinand Christopher Smith was born on May 5, 1893, in Savanna-la-Mar in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica. His father was a teacher.[1][2][6] Career Early years Jim Crow sign for "colored" waiting room at bus station in Durham, North Carolina (1940) Smith was first a laborer (porter), then waiter in a local hotel. He left to live in Panama, where he worked as hotel steward and salesman: he first experienced Jim Crow conditions. At the end of World War I, he left to live in Cuba as a migrant laborer. He left Cuba for M

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Ola Delight Smith

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Ola Delight Smith

Ola Delight Smith. Source: Railroad Telegrapher, May 1911, 1018 Ola Delight Lloyd Smith (January 21, 1880 – December 5, 1958) was an American telegrapher, journalist, and labor activist. Biography Ola Delight Lloyd was born in Mercer County, Illinois, in 1880. Her father, John Alva Lloyd, was a farmer; her mother, Celeste Crawford "Lettie" Long, died when Ola was nine. The family moved many times during her childhood, residing for various periods of time in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin.[1] Telegraphic Career While the family was living in Epes, Alabama, Ola became interested in telegraphy and used a practice set at home to learn Morse code. She took a telegraphy course at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute for Girls in Montevallo (now known as the University of Montevallo) and began working as a telegrapher, first for the Queen and Crescent Route and later for the Postal Telegraph Company. In 1901, Ola married Edgar B. Smith, a traveling salesman, and the couple moved to Bi

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Melvin Smith (politician)

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Melvin Smith (politician)

Melvin Smith of Hamilton, Ohio, is a labor leader and Democratic party politician. In 2004, Smith was the party's nominee to contest a race for a seat in the Ohio Senate being vacated by Republican state Sen. Scott Nein, who was prevented from running for re-election by Ohio's term limits law.[1] Smith lost to Republican state Rep. Gary Cates. Smith heads the AFL-CIO chapter of Butler, Warren, and Clinton counties. References Union boss, legislator seek Senate seat

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Manuela Solis Sager

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Manuela Solis Sager

Manuela Solís Sager (1912-1996) was a Mexican American labor leader, union organizer and educator. She is best known for her work organising with Mexican women in Texas during the 1930s, where 40% of the total Mexican population were employed almost exclusively in low paid, low status jobs.[1] Life and work Manuela's political career began in 1932 and 1933, when she began organizing with Tejano onion field and garment workers in Laredo.[2] In 1934, she was awarded a year long scholarship by La Asociacion de Jornaleros to attend Universidad Obrera de México, a left wing labour school in Mexico City. During this time she helped establish the Texas Workers Alliance in San Antonio alongside Emma Tenayuca.[3] On her return to Laredo in 1935, Manuela and her husband, James Sager, began to consolidate their local efforts among Mexican workers into a statewide movement. Later that year, Manuela and James were appointed official organisers of the Rio Grande Valley at a Corpus Christi conference that established So

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Vincent Sombrotto

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Vincent Sombrotto

Vincent Raymond Sombrotto (June 15, 1923 – January 10, 2013) was a letter carrier at Grand Central Station in New York City, and the 16th president of the National Association of Letter Carriers between 1978 and 2002.[1] He was born in Manhattan in 1923. Sombrotto became an official member of the National Association of Letter Carriers in 1947 and played a huge part in the U.S. postal strike of 1970. Sombrotto helped to expand the union into more than 100 cities and involved more than 200,000 new members. He retired in 2002 and finished with over 300,000 members and died in 2013 aged 89 at Port Washington, New York.[2][1] Early life Vincent Raymond Sombrotto was born on June 15, 1923 in Manhattan, New York. His parents were Raymond and Agnes Sombrotto. His mother supported the family by working as a seamstress.[2] World War II During World War II Vincent Sombrotto, wishing to serve his country, served in the US Navy.[2] Post War Years After World War II Mr. Sombrotto worked as a truck driver. He took a

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National Association of Letter Carriers

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William J. Spencer

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William J. Spencer

William J. Spencer (1867–1933) was an American labor leader who was secretary-treasurer of the Building Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor from its founding nearly continuously until his death in 1933. Spencer was born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1867. He became a plumber and emigrated to Buffalo, New York, in 1894, where he joined Local 36 of the Journeymen Plumbers. Spencer was elected secretary-treasurer of the international Plumbers' union in 1897. In 1900, he was appointed "general organizer" of the union. In 1903, Spencer was elected secretary-treasurer of the Structural Building Trades Alliance (SBTA). He served until 1908, when the SBTA affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and became the Building Trades Department (BTD). He was elected secretary-treasurer of the BTD, and served until 1924. He was elected to the same office again in 1927, and served until his death in 1933. In 1904, Spencer was elected eighth vice-president of the AFL. He served one year. Spencer

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Uriah Smith Stephens

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Uriah Smith Stephens

Uriah Smith Stephens (August 3, 1821 – February 13, 1882) was an American labor leader. He was most notable for his leadership of nine Philadelphia garment workers in founding the Knights of Labor in 1869, a successful early American labor union. Born in New Jersey, and initially educated for the ministry, Stephens was apprenticed as a tailor when he was a teenager so that he could help support his family. He settled in Philadelphia, where he continued to work at his trade. After extensive travel throughout the western United States, Mexico, and Europe in the late 1840s and early 1850s, he returned to Philadelphia, where he worked as a tailor and became active in fraternal organizations and the labor movement. After an initial effort, the Garment Cutters' Union, failed to take root, in 1869 Stephens founded the Knights of Labor. He originally conceived of the organization as a fraternal one that included secret rituals and focused on individual personal and professional development. As the organization expan

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Labor unionists from Pennsylvania

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Carl Speyer

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Carl Speyer

Carl Speyer (1845–1???) was a German socialist active in Germany, London and the United States of America.[1] He was a member of the board of the Arbeiter Zeitung and secretary of the Vereingte Tischler New Yorks, a German joiners union based in the city,[2] as well as a founding member of the International Labor Union established in Paterson, New Jersey in December 1878.[3] References "Speyer, Carl". www.leksikon.org. Retrieved 11 March 2017. Reick, Philipp (2016). "Labor is not a Commodity!": The Movement to Shorten the Workday in Late Nineteenth-Century Berlin and New York. Frankfurt/New York: Campus Verlag. p. 73. John R. Commons et al. History of Labour in the United States: Nationalisation (1860-1877) Volume 2 of History of Labour in the United States p. 301

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Andy Stern

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Andy Stern

Andrew L. Stern (born November 22, 1950) is the former president[3][4] of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).[5][6] Stern was a senior fellow at Columbia University.[7] He is now a Senior Fellow at the Economic Security Project. He is the author of two books, A Country That Works (2006),[8] and Raising the Floor: How a Universal Basic Income Can Renew Our Economy and Rebuild the American Dream (2016).[9] Early life and career He grew up Jewish in West Orange, New Jersey, where his father was a lawyer and his mother worked both at home and in healthcare. Stern graduated from West Orange High School in 1968.[10] He began college as a business major at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business but ultimately graduated in 1971 with a BA in education and urban planning.[11][12] Stern began his career as a welfare caseworker and member of the SEIU Local 668 in 1973, eventually being elected president in 1977 of his Pennsylvania local.[12] In 1980, he was elected, as the youngest m

Cornell University School of Industrial and Lab...

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Alzina Stevens

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Alzina Stevens

Alzina Stevens (May 27, 1849 – June 3, 1900) was an American labor leader, social reformer, and editor, active in Hull House. She was one of the representative women in the order of the Knights of Labor and an ardent advocate of equal suffrage. She served on the editorial staff of the Toledo Bee and half owner and editor of the Vanguard, an organ of the People's Party.[1] Although her marriage to Mr. Stevens in 1876 or 1877,[2] ended in divorce soon after, she kept her husband's name.[3] Early years and education Alzina Ann Parsons was born in Parsonsfield, Maine May 27, 1849. Her parents were Enoch Parsons and Louise Page. The father was a soldier in the War of 1812, while her two brothers served in the American Civil War in the 7th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry. Her grandfather was Colonel Thomas Parsons, who commanded a Massachusetts regiment in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.[1] At the age of 13, she began self-support as a weaver in a cotton factory,[1] where she lost he

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Edward M. Strait

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Edward M. Strait

Edward M. Strait (June 23, 1930 – December 20, 2008) was an American labor leader. He was President of the Amalgamated Council of Greyhound Local Unions, representing more than 9,300 employees,[1] and head of the Amalgamated Transit Union's bargaining unit during the strike beginning March 2, 1990, and ending in April 1993.[2] As Council President, Strait discussed the terms of all possible negotiations with the 16 local union presidents.[3] Believing the company was motivated by a preconceived desire to bust the union, Strait explained that "they negotiated us into a strike. I think this has been planned. The company wants to get rid of the union."[4][5] Initial strike negotiations were stalled by acts of violence.[6] While Greyhound CEO Fred Currey argued that "no American worth his salt negotiates with terrorists," Strait responded that management's failure to negotiate amounted to "putting the negotiations back into the hands of terrorists."[7] Shortly after Currey declared "victory" and called the strik

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Greyhound Lines

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Maurice Sugar

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Maurice Sugar

Maurice Sugar (August 8, 1891 - February 15, 1974) was an American political activist and labor attorney. He is best remembered as the General Counsel of the United Auto Workers Union from 1937 to 1946. Early years Maurice Sugar was born August 12, 1891 in Brimley, Michigan (now Superior Township), the son of ethnic Jewish parents who had emigrated to America from Lithuania, which was then part of the Russian empire.[1] Maurice's father, Kalman Sugar, worked as a storekeeper, selling general provisions.[2] Maurice's parents were not politically radical, with his father a staunch supporter of populist Democrat William Jennings Bryan in the 1890s.[3] Kalman Sugar eventually joined the Socialist Party of America in 1918, but it was under the influence of his son, not vice versa, as in the more typical case of so-called "red diaper babies."[3] Growing up in Brimley, Sugar was exposed to the culture of a variety of nationalities, as a large number of immigrants from French Canada, Sweden, Finland, and Germany

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Adolph Strasser

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Adolph Strasser

Adolph Strasser (1843-1939). Adolph Strasser (1843-1939), born in the Austro-Hungarian empire, was an American trade union organizer. Strasser is best remembered as a founder of the United Cigarmakers Union and the American Federation of Labor (AF of L). Strasser was additionally the president of the Cigar Makers' International Union for a period of 14 years, heading the union during the period in which it introduced its successful union label and gained substantial organizational strength. Biography Early years Adolph Strasser was born in the Austro-Hungarian empire in part of today's Hungary in 1843. He was a native speaker of German.[1] Strasser emigrated to the United States in 1871 or perhaps 1872.[2] After his arrival in America, Strasser worked at the craft of cigar making, taking up residence and employment in New York City.[3] In his posthumous memoirs fellow cigarmaker Samuel Gompers recalled his impressions of Strasser from the time he met him in 1872: "Strasser was a man of extraordinary me

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Louis Stulberg

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Louis Stulberg

Louis Stulberg (1901–1977) was president of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union from 1966 to 1975. Biography Early life Louis Stulberg emigrated with his parents from Poland to Canada in 1904. In 1915, he became a cutter and joined Local 83 of the ILGWU. He graduated from the Harbord Collegiate Institute in Toronto in 1918, and the next year, he moved to the United States. Stulberg first moved to Chicago, where he attended school, worked as a cutter, and joined ILGWU Local 81. Stulberg moved around the country, working as a cutter and union organizer in Toledo, Ohio, and Chicago (1924–1927). He also played minor league baseball for the Memphis Chicks, a charter member team of the Southern Association. Work with the ILGWU It was in New York that he finally settled, first working as business agent and assistant manager of Local 10 (1929–1945), then as manager of Local 62 (1947–1956). Stulberg began service at the international level as Assistant General Secretary (1945), followed by the positi

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John Swett

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John Swett

John Swett (July 31, 1830 – August 22, 1913) is considered to be the "Father of the California public school" system and the "Horace Mann of the Pacific".[1][2] Biography John Swett was an only child born July 31, 1830 in Pittsfield, New Hampshire, to Lucretia (born French) Swett and Eben Swett, who were Congregationalists.[3] He died August 22, 1913 in Alhambra Valley, near Martinez, California. He married Mary Louise (Tracy) Swett on May 8, 1862 in Sonoma, and they had 8 children.[4] During his life he was a close friend of Sierra Club co-founder John Muir.[5] Swett arrived in California in 1853 to mine gold but quickly sought work as a teacher in San Francisco.[6] In 1862 he became a Freemason, joining San Francisco's Phoenix Lodge No. 144.[7][8][9] In 1863 he was instrumental in founding the California Educational Society, which would become the California Teachers Association, the largest teachers' union in the state of California. Running in 1863, during the Civil War, as a National Union Party (Repu

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People from Pittsfield, New Hampshire

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People of the California Gold Rush

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Fred W. Suitor

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Fred W. Suitor

Fred W. Suitor (1879-May 10, 1934) was an American labor leader and politician from Vermont. Suitor was a leader in the Quarry Workers' International Union of North America. Elected Secretary-Treasurer of the QWIUNA in 1911, he maintained that position until 1930. In 1915, he was president of the Vermont Federation of Labor.[1] He was the second socialist mayor of Barre, Vermont after Robert Gordon Labor As a child, he worked part-time in a Quebec copper mill. He eventually became a blacksmith and worked in Vermont's large granite industry. In 1908, at the age of 29, Suitor became a business agent for the Quarry Workers union. In 1911, he was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the union, a position he continued in until 1930. He held other positions of influence in the union until his death in 1934. Politics In politics, Suitor was a member of the Socialist Party of America, which distinguished him from some other high-ranking labor leaders who were often opposed to socialism. He was twice a candidate of the

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Mayors of places in Vermont

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People from Barre, Vermont

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David Sullivan (labor leader)

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David Sullivan (labor leader)

David Sullivan (May 7, 1904 – January 23, 1976)[1] was an American labor leader and president of the Building Service Employees International Union (BSEIU), the precursor to the Service Employees International Union, from 1960 to 1971. Early life Sullivan was born in Cork, Ireland, on May 7, 1904, to Stephen and Margaret (Fouhy) O'Sullivan. He attended public school, but abandoned his education during high school. David O'Sullivan and his brother Thomas emigrated to the United States in 1925, settling in New York City. Sullivan became a naturalized citizen in 1932.[1][2] In 1930, Sullivan married the former Kathleen Connaire. The couple had five children.[3] Rise within Local 32B Shortly after arriving in New York City, Sullivan took a job as an elevator operator. On April 19, 1934, BSEIU Local 32B was founded under the leadership of James Bambrick, who would become its first president. Sullivan became a charter member of the new union, and participated in strikes in 1934 and 1935.[4][5] Sullivan allied

American trade unionists of Irish descent

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William H. Sylvis

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William H. Sylvis

William Sylvis (1828-1869), American labor leader. William H. Sylvis (1828–1869) was a pioneer American trade union leader. Sylvis is best remembered as a founder of the Iron Molders' International Union and the National Labor Union, the latter being one of the first American union federations attempting to unite workers of various crafts into a single national organization. Biography Early years William H. Sylvis was born in 1828 in the borough of Armagh, Pennsylvania, the second son of Nicholas and Maria Mott Sylvis, native-born Americans of Irish extraction who each traced their American ancestry back to the pre-revolutionary period.[1] Nicholas' father was a maker of canal boats and repairman of wagons who found great difficulty earning enough money to support his family.[2] During the Panic of 1837 the family's financial situation became particularly grave and young William was sent to live on the homestead of a prosperous neighbor named Pawling,[3] earning his keep there by helping with chores around

Trade unionists from Pennsylvania

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Yoshito Takamine

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Yoshito Takamine

Yoshito Takamine (June 24, 1924 – October 27, 2015) was an American politician and labor leader in Hawaii. Takamine, who was first elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives in 1958, when the state was still the Territory of Hawaii, served in the state House of Representatives for 12 consecutive terms until his retirement in 1984. Takamine, the longtime chairman of the House Labor Committee, oversaw the creation of the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act of 1974, which made Hawaii the first U.S. state to require minimum standards for the health care benefits offered to workers.[1][2] Biography Early life Yoshito Takamine, the oldest son and third child of his family's 14 children, was born on June 24, 1924, in Hakalau, Hawaii, to parents from Okinawa.[1][3] His father, Tozo Takamine, had immigrated in 1919 from his home in Shimajiri Gun, Okinawa, to the island of Hawaii, where he worked on the plantations.[3] Takamine's mother, Usa Takamine, who was also Okinawan, was a picture bride who married Tozo in a "s

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Emma Tenayuca

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Emma Tenayuca

Emma Tenayuca (December 21, 1916 – July 23, 1999), also known as Emma Beatrice Tenayuca, was a Mexican American labor leader, union organizer and educator. She is best known for her work organizing Mexican workers in Texas during the 1930s, particularly for leading the 1938 Southern Pecan Shelling Company worker's strike. Early life Tenayuca grew up in a family of eleven, but began living with her grandparents at an early age in order to ease the burden on her family.[1] She was born into a Mexican Comanche family, and their lineage in South Texas predated both Mexican independence and the Mexico-U.S. War.[2] The Tenayuca family were hit hard by the Depression, and all around her, Emma began to see the suffering of low class workers.[3] Political involvement Was I in a state of panic or fear? No. I was pretty defiant. [I fought] against poverty... high infant death rates, diseaseand hunger and misery. I would do the same thing again. Emma Tenayuca[4] She became interested in activism and was a labor a

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Jonathan Tasini

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Jonathan Tasini

Jonathan Bernard Yoav Tasini (born October 18, 1956) is a strategist, organizer, activist, commentator and writer, primarily focusing his energies on the topics of work, labor and the economy. On June 11, 2009, he announced that he would challenge New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in the Democratic primary for the 2010 U.S. Senate special election in New York.[1] However, Tasini later decided to run instead for a seat in the House of Representatives in 2010. He was the president of the National Writers Union from 1990 to 2003. In 2006, he unsuccessfully challenged incumbent U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary, principally because of the incumbent's vote for the Iraq Resolution which gave then President George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq. He is currently president of the Economic Future Group, a national consulting group in the United States. He also writes frequently for a labor and economy blog, Working Life. Background Tasini was born in Houston, though he would spend

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John Wesley Terry

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John Wesley Terry

John Wesley Terry (1846–?) was a Baptist preacher and labor leader in central Tennessee and Chicago. In Chicago, he became foreman of a shop in the West Division Street Car Company and became an officer of the Knights of Labor, taking part in the negotiations to end the strikes in 1886 - the Haymarket riots were a part of the same series of strikes. Early life John Wesley Terry was born in Maury County, Tennessee in 1846 to slaves Hayward Terry and Mary. The family were owned by a man named William Pickard. Terry and his brother, Henry, were raised in very poor conditions until they were old enough to work in the fields. In 1863, his mother attempted to escape with Terry and his brother. This was during the US Civil War (1861-1865), and the Union Army controlled Columbia, Tennessee, where the family sought safety. Upon arrival, Henry enlisted in the army, but John was too young and remained with his mother in Columbia until the Union commander of the area turned them over to their master when Pickard came f

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R. J. Thomas

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R. J. Thomas

R. J. Thomas at a union meeting at the Dodge Chicago Plant, 1944 Roland Jay Thomas (June 9, 1900 – April 18, 1967), also known as R. J. Thomas, was born in East Palestine, Ohio. He grew up in eastern Ohio and attended the College of Wooster for two years. The need to help support his family caused him to leave college and go to work. In 1923, he moved to Detroit, where he worked in a number of automobile plants. He became active in efforts to organize the automobile industry and was the president of Chrysler Local 7 when it affiliated with the United Auto Workers (UAW) in 1936. He was a leader of the 1937 Chrysler sit-down strike and that same year was elected a vice president of the UAW. He assumed the presidency in 1938 after the president, Homer Martin, was ousted. He was president until 1946. During this period, the UAW developed into a dynamic, stable union. He lost the presidency to Walter Reuther in 1946, but was elected first vice president. However, he lost that office in the election the followin

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People from East Palestine, Ohio

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Joe Thomas (Alaska politician)

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Joe Thomas (Alaska politician)

Joseph James Thomas, Jr., more commonly known as Joe J. Thomas, is a former Democratic member of the Alaska Senate, representing the D District from 2006 through 2012. He was previously an official with the Laborers' Union Local 942. On November 6, 2012, Thomas lost his general election bid to John Coghill. External links Media related to Joe J. Thomas at Wikimedia Commons Project Vote Smart - Senator Joe J. Thomas (AK) profile Follow the Money - Joe J. Thomas 2006 campaign contributions Joe Thomas at 100 Years of Alaska's Legislature

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Steven Tolman

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Steven Tolman

Steven A. Tolman (born October 2, 1954 in Brighton, Massachusetts) is an American labor union leader who is the current President of the Massachusetts AFL–CIO. He is a former state legislator who served in the Massachusetts Senate (1999–2011), representing the 2nd Suffolk and Middlesex district, and the Massachusetts House of Representatives (1994–1998). Prior to serving in the Massachusetts legislature he was a commissioner for the Watertown Housing Authority and a member of the Democratic State Committee.[1][2] He was elected President of the Massachusetts AFL–CIO on October 6, 2011.[3] He remained in the State Senate until October 13, 2011, following the vote on the casino gambling bill.[4][5] Tolman is a resident of the Brighton neighborhood in Boston and is a member of the Democratic Party.[1] He is the brother of former state senator Warren Tolman. References "Member Profile – Steven A. Tolman." Massachusetts General Court. Public Officers of Massachusetts (2007–2008): p. 74. Massachusetts Gen

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Politicians from Boston

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Roger Toussaint

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Roger Toussaint

Roger Toussaint (born 1956 in Trinidad and Tobago) was the President of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100, the union of New York City Transit Authority employees in New York City and former Vice President of Strategic Planning for the parent union, an international organization. Early life Toussaint emigrated to New York City from Trinidad and Tobago at the age of 18 and settled in Brooklyn. He enrolled at Brooklyn College, and held a succession of blue-collar jobs including working as a welder. He was hired by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) as a cleaner in 1984, and became a track worker in 1985. Worker activism Dissatisfied with working conditions at the Transit Authority, he and his fellow track workers started a newsletter called "On Track" which highlighted worker grievances. In 1994, he became a formal union member when he was elected leader of the 1800-member Track Division. As a TWU member, he was active in pursuing workers' grievances, much to the dislike of management. In

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Jessica Govea Thorbourne

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Jessica Govea Thorbourne

Jessica Govea Thorbourne (1947 – January 23, 2005) was a labor activist, United Farm Worker union leader, and educator. She is best known for her lifelong efforts to achieve justice, equality, education, and economic opportunity for Latino laborers.[1] At age 58, she died from breast cancer in West Orange, New Jersey. However, she believed that the true source of her illness later in life was related to the damaging pesticides that she had worked with for years.[2] Early life Govea Thorbourne was born in 1947 in Porterville, California[3] to Juan and Margaret Govea, who were migrant workers.[4] By the age of two, she had already began working in the fields.[5] At an early age, she began leading boycotts, such as her very successful grape boycott in Canada.[6] Govea Thorbourne graduated valedictorian from Bakersfield High School.[6] She attended college for one year before deciding to join forces with Cesar Chavez in the United Farm Workers Union.[6] Career Govea Thorbourne began working with the United Fa

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Mike Trbovich

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Mike Trbovich

Mike Trbovich (November 19, 1920 - June 24, 1989)[1] was a miner and labor union activist active in the United Mine Workers of America, AFL-CIO in the 1960s and 1970s. He had a high school education, was a coal shuttle operator in Pennsylvania for much of his life, and was of Eastern European descent. He was an active member of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), and rose to prominence in District 5 (which covered Pennsylvania) under reformer Joseph "Jock" Yablonski in the 1960s. Yablonski electoral challenge Yablonski challenged autocratic UMWA president W. A. Boyle for the presidency of the union in 1969. Trbovich was one of Yablosnki's most ardent supporters, and managed his campaign. In an election widely seen as fraudulent, Boyle beat Yablonski in the election held on December 9 by a margin of nearly two-to-one. Yablonski conceded the election, but on December 18 asked the United States Department of Labor (DOL) to investigate the election for fraud. On December 31, three hitmen—acting on Boyl

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People from Greene County, Pennsylvania

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United Mine Workers

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William E. Trautmann

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William E. Trautmann

William Ernst Trautmann (July 1, 1869 – November 18, 1940) was founding general-secretary of the U.S. Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and one of 69 people who initially laid plans for the organization in 1904. He was born to German parents in New Zealand in 1869 and raised in Europe. After completing a brewing apprenticeship in Poland, he worked as a masterbrewer in Germany before being expelled for labor activities under Bismark's anti-socialist laws. In 1890 he moved to the United States, where he joined the Brewers Union. Trautmann was a key figure in the United Brewery Workers' Union in Milwaukee and the editor of the United Brewery Workers' German-language newspaper, Brauer Zeitung. He was expelled from that union for his participation in the founding IWW convention. In 1905, he joined with other industrial unionists to found the Industrial Workers of the World. Between 1905 and 1912, he mostly worked in the field as an organizer. In 1912, he broke with the IWW leadership over strike tactics and t

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