Remembering Labor Leader John J. Sweeney

IN MEMORIAM:  John J. Sweeney, 1934-2021

SLU pays tribute to the life and legacy of John J. Sweeney, who passed away on February 1st at the age of 86. As President of the AFL-CIO from 1995 to 2009, Sweeney brought new hope and vitality to the labor movement; transformed the mostly white, male organization by welcoming women and minorities into its unions, often in leadership positions; recruited thousands of immigrants to the labor movement; and increased organized labor’s political clout.  A champion of progressive causes, Sweeney’s vision of a diverse, inclusive workforce seeking social and economic justice for all changed the labor movement forever.

John Sweeney will be missed, but the wisdom of his words and the weight of his accomplishments endure.