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Philip Murray

Murray, Philip, 1886–1952, American labor leader, b. Blantyre, Scotland. He emigrated to the United States in 1902 and worked in the Pennsylvania coal mines. After he was discharged for fighting with a foreman, 600 miners struck, formed a local of the United Mine Workers of America (UMW), and elected (1904) Murray local president. A skillful negotiator, he rose to the vice presidency of the union by 1920. When the CIO was formed (see American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations), he became a CIO vice president and headed (1936) its successful steel workers' organizing campaign. He broke with John L. Lewis, whom he succeeded as CIO president (1940). For supporting President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's reelection in 1940, Lewis forced Murray out of the UMW. (Lewis supported the Republican Wendell Willkie). However, Murray was elected president of the United Steel Workers of America in 1942 when that union was formed. Retaining the presidency of both the CIO and the United Steel Workers of America until his death, Murray was active in expelling (1949–50) Communist-dominated unions from the CIO.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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