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john sweeney

By Joe Iosbaker

End of the Sweeney Era

Headshot of John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO

Ten years ago, John Sweeney was elected president of the AFL-CIO. Supporters of his New Voices slate rallied to oust the stale leadership of his predecessor, Lane Kirkland. Under Kirkland, workers had seen 20 years of declining wages, benefits and working conditions. For 20 years, attacks by the capitalists had come down, and the defenses put up by the unions failed to turn them back. In fact, most unions hadn’t fought at all.