Longtime Labor leader Thomas Donahue passed away February 18.
Donahue served as AFL-CIO President from August to October 1995. Prior to that, he was secretary-treasurer of the labor federation beginning in 1979.
“Tom Donahue was a good man and a strong fighter for all working people,” stated retired MTD President Michael Sacco. “Tom was someone you could count on. You always knew where he stood and that was on the side of workers.”
“Tom was an innovator, intellectual and a visionary labor leader who was ahead of his time,” declared AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler and Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond in a joint statement.
“Long before the future of work and the impact of technology on workers became a robust policy debate, Donahue was creating a blueprint for unions that encouraged experimentation with new approaches and technology to expand worker organizing and increase the Labor Movement’s influence.”
The Bronx-born Donahue, 94, began as a part-time organizer with the Retail Clerks International Union in New York City. He joined the Building Service Employees International Union in 1960. From 1967 to 1969, he was Assistant U.S Labor Secretary.
In 1973, then AFL-CIO President George Meany tapped Donahue to be his executive assistant. When Meany retired in 1979, Donahue said, “My hopes for the Labor Movement are growth, dynamism, militancy.”
One of his most often quoted remarks was “The only effective answer to organized greed is organized labor.”
Donahue was a frequent speaker at MTD Conventions and Executive Board Meetings.