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William Green

Green, William, 1872–1952, American labor leader, president of the American Federation of Labor (1924–1952), b. Coshocton, Ohio. He rose through the ranks of the United Mine Workers of America, of which organization he was (1912–24) secretary-treasurer. With backing from John L. Lewis, Green was elected president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) to succeed Samuel Gompers. He led the organization of skilled labor into craft unions and gradually built up AFL membership. After eight of the largest unions split away (1935) under the leadership of John L. Lewis and formed the Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) to organize workers in industrial unions, Green led the AFL in the subsequent struggle with the CIO. He set forth his philosophy in Labor and Democracy (1939). Green was succeeded as president of the AFL by George Meany. See American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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