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John L. Lewis (1880-1969)
United Mine Workers of America“I have pleaded (labor’s) case, not in the quavering tones of a feeble mendicant asking alms, but in the thundering voice of the captain of a mighty host, demanding the rights to which free men are entitled.” – John L. Lewis

A colossus of American labor, John L. Lewis was an eloquent spokesman for working people throughout theU.S.

President of the United Mine Workers for over four decades, he won for his members the highest wages of any of the major industries of the period, and one of the first employer-paid health and retirement systems. 

A strong proponent of industrial unionism, he revitalized the U.S. labor movement in the thirties with the formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, bringing hundreds of thousands of workers into the new CIO. The controversial John L. Lewis was one of the most admired, feared, effective and colorful trade unionists in American history.

Gene Worthington portrayed John L. Lewis at the Labor Day Celebration in 2001 at Princeton, Indiana.


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