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Lewis visits Roosevelt at the White House: 1939 | by Washington Area Spark
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Lewis visits Roosevelt at the White House: 1939

John L. Lewis, head of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and the Congress Industrial Organizations (CIO) walks down the sidewalk on the 1600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. on his way to the White House December 19, 1939.


Lewis met with President Franklin Roosevelt where the chief executive urged Lewis to find common ground with American Federation of Labor (AFL). The AFL expelled the UMWA and other unions that initially formed the CIO in 1936.


While some of the most heated warfare between the rival union groups eased during World War II, the two organizations did not reconcile until after the CIO expelled 11 unions for alleged communist influence and hundreds of individual left leaning union members beginning in 1948 after the passage of the Taft Hartley Act. The groups merged in 1955 to become the AFL-CIO.


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Photo by Harris & Ewing. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-hec-27835 (digital file from original negative).

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Taken on December 19, 1939