On Nov. 25, 1952, and following the death four days prior of William Green, George Meany became the new president of the American Federation of Labor. His first official act was, in fact, to merge the AFL with the CIO, a task which took three years to complete. His efforts became fruitful in December 1955 with a joint convention in New York City that merged the two federations to form the AFL-CIO that workers know today. Once formed, the new federation had 15 million members.
Meany died of cardiac arrest on Jan. 10, 1980, and was called “an American institution” and a “patriot” by then-president Jimmy Carter. In 1994, Meany was featured on a U.S. commemorative postage stamp, which was issued on the 100th anniversary of his birthdate.