"The skills and productivity of American workers, not to mention the taxes they pay, are the greatest economic resource our country has."
For half a century Joseph Lane Kirkland was a master builder of the American labor movement. Beginning as a researcher for the American Federation of Labor in 1948, he rose through the leadership ranks to be elected secretary-treasurer in 1969 and president of the AFL-CIO from 1979 to 1995. Kirkland strengthened the American labor movement by reintegrating the Teamsters, Auto Workers and Mine Workers unions back into the AFL-CIO. A passionate opponent of totalitarian regimes around the world, he supported the Polish Solidarnosc (Solidarity) movement that led to the fall of the Communist bloc.