Thomas William Gleason Photo

Thomas William Gleason

Born: Nov 8, 1900

Death: Dec 24, 1992

Birthplace: New York

Nationality: United States

Thomas William Gleason

Date of Birth : Nov 8, 1900
Date of Death : Dec 24, 1992
Birth Place : New York

Thomas William "Teddy" Gleason was president of the International Longshoremen's Association from 1963 to 1987. Gleason was born in New York, the oldest of 13 children. Coming from a family of longshoremen, he left school after the seventh grade and started working in the docks. When wages were cut in 1931 in the wake of the Great Depression, Gleason and several co-workers were blacklisted for stopping work. This eventually led to the eviction of Gleason, his wife and their two children from their home when they could not pay the rent. When he was blacklisted, he pushed a hand truck in a sugar factory during the day and he sold hot dogs on Coney Island at night. When the New Deal allowed him to resume work in the docks, he became an ILA member and rose to the rank of ILA organizer in 1947, as a protegee of ILA president Joseph Ryan. Gleason supported William Bradley when he replaced Ryan in 1953; Gleason, in turn, replaced Bradley in 1963 as president. In 1963, during the Kennedy administration, he opposed Kennedy's proposal to sell surplus wheat to the Soviet Union, but relented when the government agreed that half of the grain ships would be American ships.

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