THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Hillary and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Lane Kirkland, one of the towering figures in the American labor movement. For nearly five decades, he was a guiding force for workplace fairness, dignity, and innovation, and a catalyst for international democracy.
Lane led the AFL-CIO during 15 of the most challenging years in labor's history. With skill, determination, and unparalleled intellect, he reunited the major unions and reaffirmed labor's place at the table of American democracy. With his unflagging support of free trade unionism internationally, especially in Poland, he helped hasten the fall of the Iron Curtain while showing America that it is possible to stand up to communism abroad while standing up for working men and women here at home. From his days as a merchant marine during World War II to his work on the Board of Directors of the Institute of Peace, he was always ready and willing to serve his country. I valued his friendship, strong support, and keen advice. He was a great American, and he will be greatly missed.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Irena, and his family in this time of mourning.