Happy Birthday President Teddy Gleason – A Labor Giant, Still Today!
November 8, 1900 – was a monumental day in ILA history. One hundred and nineteen years ago today, Teddy Gleason was born on Charles Street in Lower Manhattan. The oldest of 10 children, this incredible man would be working on the docks on Manhattan at age 16, blackballed by the industry because of his union organizing activities in his 30’s (with a wife and three sons to support) and went on to be elected International President of the ILA in 1963. He would lead the ILA as President for an incredible 24 years! He became known the world over as one of the greatest labor leaders in modern times. The Gleason and Daggett families would become lifelong friends and a young Harold Daggett would spend a lot of time at Teddy Gleason’s Lower Manhattan offices where he would learn things that have now made him a great ILA President, cut in the same mold as Teddy Gleason – a fighter for his membership. Teddy Gleason’s dedication was always focused on improving the lives of the ILA members he represented. When he passed away a little more than a month after celebrating his 92nd birthday on Christmas Eve in 1992, his Mass was celebrated at St. Patrick’s Cathedral (which he marched past in 1984 as Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade) by Cardinal John O’Connor, and scores of priests. It was attended by the Mayors of New York and Boston; countless Members of Congress and the nation’s top labor leaders. Labor Giant, still today. Happy Birthday President Teddy Gleason!