John Sweeney | National Coalition on Health Care

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Fmr. President, AFL-CIO

John J. Sweeney was elected president of the AFL-CIO at the federation’s biennial convention in October 1995 and has been re-elected twice since then. At the time of his election, he was serving his fourth four-year term as president of SEIU, which grew from 625,000 to 1.1 million members under his leadership. An AFL-CIO vice president since 1980, Sweeney was born May 5, 1934, in Bronx, N.Y.

His trade union career began as a research assistant with the Ladies Garment Workers. In 1960, he joined SEIU as a contract director for New York City Local 32B. He went on to become union president and to lead two citywide strikes of apartment maintenance workers. In 1980, he was elected president of the international. Sweeney is the author of America Needs A Raise: Fighting for Economic Security and Social Justice.

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