From the bloggers at Rolling in a RV.
John L. Lewis, the son of immigrants from Wales, was born near Lucas, Iowa where his father worked in the coal mines. He started working in the mines himself at age 16 but quickly moved up the ranks to become a recording secretary, president of a local, national organizer and field representative, vice president of the UMWA and finally president in 1920.
As president of the UMWA for 40 years he fought for higher wages, safer working conditions, medical benefits and pensions for the miners. He was also instrumental in forming the CIO which organized unions for workers in the steel, rubber, meat, autos, glass and electrical equipment industries.
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