This biography by Arch Puddington traces Kirkland’s life from modest origins in small town South Carolina to his rise to the top position in the trade union movement. It deals at length with Kirkland’s numerous clashes with the Reagan Administration, his efforts to expand labor’s political influence, his success in affiliating large independent unions to the AFL-CIO, and his response to the challenges of deindustrialization and globalization. It also tells the story of Kirkland’s central role in mobilizing international labor support for Poland’s Solidarity union and the critical part he played in the creation of the modern democracy movement.
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