February 2, 2021

Jobs With Justice mourns the passing of AFL-CIO President Emeritus John Sweeney



Contact: Nick Voutsinos, Jobs With Justice, nick@jwj.org, 717-413-7613 

Jobs With Justice mourns the passing of AFL-CIO President Emeritus John Sweeney

He expanded the labor movement into the realms of social justice, politics, and all areas that affect working people. 

Washington, DC — Yesterday, February 1, 2021, the labor movement lost one of its most enduring leaders — John Sweeney. John led the AFL-CIO from 1995-2009. Thanks to his steadfast leadership, he saw the AFL-CIO through some of the darkest storms for working people, including the Great Recession, while also growing the coalition’s membership to new heights. He also transformed the labor movement into a social and political force, one that worked to elect the United States’ first Black President, Barack Obama.

President Sweeney brought his big vision for organizing the unorganized to the founding of American Rights at Work, which merged with Jobs With Justice in 2012. 

Erica Smiley, the first Black woman to lead Jobs With Justice, gave the following statement in remembrance of John Sweeney, a founding visionary of our organization: 

We mourn the loss of a legendary leader of our movement, AFL-CIO President Emeritus John Sweeney. President Sweeney understood that, without broad public support for unions as they organized, workers were less equipped to fight back against fierce corporate resistance. That is why, through his big, inclusionary vision, President Sweeney expanded the labor movement into the realms of social justice, politics, and all areas that affect working people and their human rights. Through research, communications and alliance building work, we will continue to carry out President Sweeney’s vision in our fight for an economy that works for everyone.” 


Jobs With Justice is the country’s leading nonprofit in the fight for workplace and economic democracy. Comprising of a national network of local affiliates in nearly every state, Jobs With Justice brings together coalitions of unions, worker organizations, community groups, students, and faith institutions to win concrete improvements in people’s lives. 

You must be logged in to post a comment.