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John L. Lewis
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    (February 12, 1880-June 11, 1969)
    Born in Lucas, Iowa
    President of the United Mine Workers (1920-60)
    Founding member and president (1936-40) of the Congress of Industrial Organizations
    He ran the UMW autocratically.
    During an American Federation of Labor meeting, he punched William Hutcheson, head of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.
    During his early years heading the CIO, he spent more time fighting with the AFL than organizing workers.
    Although most unions agreed to a no-strike pledge for the duration of World War II, he led a strike by half a million miners (1943).
    He went to work in the mines at age 15.
    He banned Communists from running for executive positions in the UMW.
    He won improvements in wages and working conditions for miners.
    He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Lyndon Johnson.

Credit: C. Fishel

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