Sweeney, John Joseph

Sweeney, John Joseph,

1934–, U.S. labor leader, b. New York City. An official of the Service Employees International UnionService Employees International Union
(SEIU), labor union representing U.S. and Canadian workers in health care (doctors, nurses, health technicians), public services (government workers, school employees), building services (janitors, elevator operators, security officers) and
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 (SEIU) from 1960, he became president of the SEIU in 1980. As president, he emphasized organizing new workers and nearly doubled the union's membership. In 1995 he led dissatisfied labor leaders who challenged American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial OrganizationsAmerican Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
(AFL-CIO), a federation of autonomous labor unions in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama, and U.S.
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 president Lane KirklandKirkland, Lane
(Joseph Lane Kirkland) , 1922–99, American labor leader, president (1979–95) of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), b. Camden, S.C.
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. After Kirkland resigned, Sweeney defeated Thomas DonahueDonahue, Thomas R.
(Thomas Reilly Donahue) , 1928–, American labor leader, b. New York City. A long-time member of the Service Employees International Union, he rose from a position as a local organizer to serve as its first vice president (1969–73).
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, who had been appointed interim president, for the presidency of the AFL-CIO in the first contested such election in the organization's history. An unsuccessful challenge to his continued leadership resulted in 2005 in a split in the AFL-CIO, and several large unions with a total of more than 5 million members left the organization. He retired as president in 2009; Richard L. TrumkaTrumka, Richard Louis,
1949–, U.S. labor leader, b. Nemacolin, Pa., grad. Pennsylvania State Univ. (B.S., 1971), Villanova Univ. (J.D., 1974). A third-generation miner, he worked as a United Mine Workers (UMW) staff lawyer after graduating from law school then returned to
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 succeeded him.
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