Sweeney awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom (2/15)

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The AFL-CIO has issued the following news release:


John Sweeney, President Emeritus of AFL-CIO, Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom


On Feb. 15, 2011, AFL-CIO President Emeritus John Sweeney received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. Sweeney was one of 15 honored in a White House ceremony with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.


Sweeney served as president of the 12 million member federation from 1995 - 2009 and transformed the labor movement into a voice for all working Americans. Under his leadership, the AFL-CIO led efforts to strengthen the middle class, create good jobs for all Americans, and fight corporate greed.


Sweeney said about receiving the award: "I am profoundly honored to receive this award among so many exceptional recipients. It is with great admiration and respect that I accept this award on behalf of hard-working Americans. I am deeply fortunate to have been able to devote my life to protecting and promoting the rights of working families everywhere."


"Of the many great individuals who have received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, none are more deserving than John Sweeney," said AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who served with Sweeney as secretary treasurer and was elected to the top post in 2009.


"No matter how high he rose, John lived the values that drew him to the labor movement as a young man, and he has never stepped back from his devotion to the working people who were the heart and soul of the working-class immigrant community where he grew up," Trumka said when learning of the honor. "John's integrity, commitment and passion for the least among us has earned him an award that all of labor can be proud of."


The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award in the U.S. It recognizes those individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."


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