Thomas R. Donahue is one of the most influential leaders of the post-World War II American trade union movement. He served as Secretary-Treasurer of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations from 1979 to 1995, President in 1995, and President Emeritus since 1996.Tom is the grandson of Irish immigrants and was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. He graduated from Manhattan College with a degree in labor relations and later attended Law School at Fordham University, graduating in 1956.
He has long been passionate about labor and ensuring the rights of workers, becoming involved very early in his career, even while in school. He is also noted as a major change agent within the AFL-CIO and credited with many innovative ideas and approaches to the internal workings of the unions with which he has been associated.
The chief vehicle for his efforts was the AFL-CIO Committee on the Evolution of Work, which he chaired. Under Tom Donahue, “the group has become the federation’s principal think tank for modernizing its structure,” according to the New York Times.