Lane Kirkland

Infobox Person
name = Joseph Lane Kirkland

image_size = 180px
caption =
birth_date = birth date|1922|3|12|mf=y
birth_place = Camden, South Carolina
death_date = death date and age|1999|8|14|1922|3|12|mf=y
death_place = Washington, D.C.
occupation = Labor leader
spouse =
parents =
children =

Joseph Lane Kirkland (March 12 1922 – August 14 1999) was a US labor union leader who served as President of the AFL-CIO for over sixteen years.


Kirkland was born in Camden, South Carolina and rose over his career to head the 16 million-member American labor movement.

In 1941, Kirkland entered the United States Merchant Marine Academy, graduated 1942, and became an officer on U.S. merchant ships during World War II. After the war, he worked in the Research Department of the AFL. He received a B.S. degree from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Kirkland married Edith Draper Hollyday in June 1944, with whom he had five daughters. A year after their divorce in 1972, he married the Czech-born Irena Neumann (1925 - 2007).

From 1979 to 1995 Kirkland was president of the American Federation of LaborCongress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). During his tenure, union membership in the United States declined precipitously. The unions suffered some of their most serious defeats, including the 1981 air traffic controllers's strike and the 1985 Hormel meat packers' strike. On the international front, Kirkland's support of the Solidarity movement in Poland contributed to the decline of communism (he was awarded posthumously with the highest Polish award, the Order of the White Eagle).

His best remembered quotation is:

* "If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves."

Lane Kirkland died in Washington, D.C., aged 77, from complications of cancer.

External links

* [ Lane Kirkland (1922 - 1999)] AFL-CIO history page.
* [ Free Trade Union Institute] the foreign arm of the AFL-CIO from 1977.
* [ Lane Kirkland: The AFL-CIO's last cold warrior] by Jim Smith
* [ Freedom's Labors: Lane Kirkland worked for more than his union] by Fred Siegel. Wall Street Journal. Tuesday, March 8, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST. Accessed April 3, 2005.


*Puddington, Arch. "Lane Kirkland: Champion of American Labor." Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley and Sons, 2005. ISBN 0-471-41694-0
*Buhle, Paul. "Taking Care of Business: Samuel Gompers, George Meany, Lane Kirkland, and the Tragedy of American Labor." New York City: Monthly Review Press, 1999. ISBN 1-58367-003-3

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  • Kirkland, (Joseph) Lane — born March 12, 1922, Camden, S.C., U.S. died Aug. 14, 1999, Washington, D.C. U.S. labour union leader. He served as an officer in the U.S. merchant marine and joined the American Federation of Labor (AFL) as a staff researcher in 1948. He was… …   Universalium

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