Former AFL-CIO President John Sweeney dies at age 86

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former AFL-CIO President John Sweeney has died at age 86. The Washington, D.C.-based union’s current president, Richard Trumka, says Sweeney “was a great leader and true innovator, driving the labor movement forward.” Sweeney spent 14 years steering the nation’s largest labor federation during declining union membership and rising internal dissent. He helped build the AFL-CIO into a political powerhouse more firmly aligned with the Democratic Party and progressive groups on the left. Sweeney stepped down as president in 2009, then served as president emeritus, offering advice to the group’s executive council and delivering speeches. Sweeney was born in New York City, the son of working-class Irish immigrants. He died Monday at his Maryland home.