LABOR: Embarrassing Picket

As he strode into the united labor movement's sleek, modern headquarters in Washington last week, burly A.F.L.-C.I.O. President George Meany blushed for all to see. Plodding back and forth on the sidewalk was a pudgy picket carrying a sandwich board that proclaimed: 21 YEARS AN A.F.L.-C.I.O. ORGANIZER THEN FIRED BY A 3^ STAMP. Admitted an A.F.L.-C.I.O. official: "It's damned embarrassing."

The embarrassing picket was James Sweeny, 59, a onetime coal miner and longtime professional organizer who was booted out of his $6,500-a-year job a few weeks ago and into retirement with a $96-a-month pension. At the same time, the A.F.L.-C.I.O....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!