Quill, Michael Joseph

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Quill, Michael Joseph

Michael Joseph Quill, 1905–66, American labor leader, b. Co. Kerry, Ireland. Quill was active (1919–23) in the movement for Irish independence before emigrating (1926) to the United States. He worked as a laborer and in the New York City subways, and in 1934 he helped to organize the Transport Workers Union of America, of which he became president in 1935. In 1937 the union became affiliated with the Congress of Industrial Organizations, and Quill succeeded, with the help of John L. Lewis, in getting closed-shop contracts with transit lines of New York City. He then led in expanding the activities of the union to other big cities in the United States. As a member (1937–39, 1943–49) of the city council of New York, Quill—a colorful and fiery speaker—fought for numerous municipal reforms. Quill died shortly after he led a transit strike that paralyzed New York City for 12 days.

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