Topic: Thomas Donahue

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Thomas Reilly Donahue (born September 4, 1928) was Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO from 1979 to 1995 and served briefly as its acting President during the second half of 1995.

Born and raised in New York City, after receiving his undergraduate degree at Manhattan College he became a business agent for the New York local of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), during which time it became one of the most powerful unions in the city of New York. In 1963 he became assistant to the President of the national SEIU and then served as Assistant Secretary of Labor during the last two years of the Johnson Administration. From 1969 to 1973 he served as Executive Secretary of SEIU and became executive assistant to the president of the AFL-CIO, George Meany, in 1973.

Already an influential figure as Meany's executive assistant, when Meany retired in 1979 Donahue was elected Secretary-Treasurer. In this capacity Donahue played a leading role in the AFL-CIO's critical support movement for Poland's Solidarnosc or Solidarity movement, which succeeded in establishing free trade unions in the Soviet bloc and was a key catalyst for the fall of Communism.

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