LABOR: The Silent One

Labor unions, unlike duchies or debts, are not customarily passed down from father to son. Except in the Carpenters' union. From the time he was a schoolboy, Maurice Hutcheson was groomed as carefully as any prince to take over the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, which had long been the personal fief of his father, the late William ("Big Bill") Hutcheson. On his retirement in 1952, after 36 years as the dictator of the brotherhood, Big Bill simply turned the union over to his son.

Under Maurice's leadership, the Carpenters continued to thrive. Membership grew to 850,000,...

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