Leslie Orear, 103, Helped Bring Together Black and White Packinghouse Workers in the 1930s

Stephen Franklin
In These Times
June 11, 2014

Leslie Orear, a lifelong labor activist, died in Chicago on May 30 at the age of 103. After entering the Chicago stockyards at a time when the idea of unions for blue-collar workers was spreading like wildfire, Orear quickly emerged as a voice for stockyard workers.

Leslie Orear started in the giant packing house’s sweet-pickle shipping department in 1932, tying string onto hunks of bacon. It was often hot and stunk, and the pay was a measly 32.5-cents an hour.

Click here to read more at In These Times.

Get Advice Join TDU Donate

Recent News

Union Membership Steady for 2019 at 16.4 million

That represents a slight decline in percentage of unionization, according the comprehensive annual report. The union advantage remains strong: "Union members had median usual weekly earnings of $1,095 in 2019, while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $892" That's $10,556 per year. Read the report.

'How this African American UPS worker challenged powerful union leaders in Philly, and won.'

by Juliana Feliciano Reyes, January 22, The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Around the country, rank and file union activists — from teachers to journalists to warehouse workers — have challenged the establishment, who they say is too complacent, too cozy with management, to fight for workers and keep corporations in check."

View More News Posts