August 1, 2014
By Stephanie West
Washington, DC- John J. Sweeney, President Emeritus of the AFL-CIO was honored Wednesday July 30th at a reception hosted by the AFL-CIO and AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT).
The event recognized Mr. Sweeney's lifelong advocacy for working people here and abroad, a life that has been rooted in religious faith, family and an abiding belief in social and economic justice. At the event, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka presented Mr. Sweeney with the George Meany-Lane Kirkland Lifetime Achievement Award for Global Workers' Rights.
"John Sweeney has truly lived his core values of fairness, faith, and family," said Mr. Trumka, who served with Mr. Sweeney at the AFL-CIO as secretary-treasurer. "John's leadership has given a voice to countless workers who deserve to be treated with dignity and fairness."
James Boland, President of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, called Mr. Sweeney "a man who has worked selflessly to improve the lives and livelihood of workers around the world. John's work provides a foundation for future generations of labor leaders and seekers of peace and fairness."
The University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, recognized Mr. Sweeney with the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) Global Peace and Social Justice Award in honor of his work for peace and justice in Northern Ireland. The University also announced its creation of the John J. Sweeney Scholarship, a full scholarship that will be available to American students with union ties who aspire to be part of the next generation of peace builders.
Mr. Sweeney reflected on his tenure at the helm of the AFL-CIO, "I look at it as a lifetime of working to improve the lives of workers. I got tremendous satisfaction from my work, a lot of happiness. Sure there were days when we were in tough fights over collective bargaining or strikes, but I always looked forward to going to work and got great satisfaction helping workers improve their lives."