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Meany, Georgelocked

(16 August 1894–10 January 1980)
  • David Brody

Extract

Meany, George (16 August 1894–10 January 1980), labor leader, was born in New York City, the son of Michael J. Meany and Anne Cullen, both of whom were American-born children of Irish families that had migrated to the United States during the early 1850s. In 1899 the Meanys moved across the East River to a comfortable working-class neighborhood in the Bronx, where George (the first name on his birth certificate, William, seems never to have been used) grew up. Mike Meany was a plumber, and against his father’s hopes for something better for his son, George Meany chose to follow in his father’s footsteps. He left school at fourteen, worked for over a year as a messenger for an advertising agency, and in 1910 was taken on as a plumber’s helper. He was inducted into Local 463 as a journeyman plumber in early 1917. By then his father had died, and when his older brother left for the army in April 1917 he became the sole supporter of his large family. In 1919, after a prolonged courtship, he married Eugenie McMahon, a garment worker. They had three daughters and a happy home life, which Meany assiduously shielded from his public career as a rising labor leader....

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