David McDonald

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Person.png David McDonald  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(trade unionist)
David McDonald.png
Born22 November 1902
Died8 August 1979 (Age 76)
US labor leader who attended the February 1957 Bilderberg

David John McDonald was "a reliably anti-communists"[1] labor leader and president of the United Steelworkers of America from 1952 to 1965.


McDonald's great opportunity came in the fall of 1923 when he became private secretary to Philip Murray, then a United Mine Workers vice president, and followed Murray to the steel union.[2]

He became president of the United Steelworkers of America in 1952, after Philip Murray died suddenly. Murray had intended to push McDonald out of the union, but his sudden death left McDonald in a position to take control.

McDonald has small regard for the auto workers' Walter Reuther, once described him privately as "that redheaded, socialistic s.o.b." But he became a good friend and admirer of George Meany, president of the AFL-CIO[3]

In the 1960s, as the economy grew at a slower pace and wage negotiations became tougher, McDonald's hold on his union weakened. Rank‐and‐file members took greater notice of his relatively well‐to‐do living style. Finally, in 1964, McDonald's nominal deputy, I.W. Abel, challenged him for the union presidency. The campaign, waged nationally, was extremely bitter. McDonald lost by just 10,000 votes and, after deciding not to challenge the tally, retired to a modest Palm Springs home.[2]


In 1956, during the Suez Crisis, culminating in the threat of international sanctions if Israel did not withdraw from the conquered territories, the AFL-CIO bolstered its support. In December it held a testimonial dinner for David McDonald, president of the United Steel Workers, to raise money for Israel: with admissions set at a $1,000 Israel bond, more than $1 million dollars were netted.[4] In 1963, McDonald was named recipient of the 1963 Histadrut Humanitarian Award, according to an announcement made by the National Committee for Labor Israel.[5]


McDonald was almost universally considered vain and self-important. Many union leaders felt he drank too much and was far too flamboyant.

He often appeared vainglorious and deceitful, masking his lack of contact with rank-and-file workers and his shaky grasp of conditions in the mills with boastful orations and alcohol-enhanced bonhomie.... he bullied or cajoled wildcat strikers, sweet-talked government officials and corporate executives, and appeared endlessly at rallies, bond drives, broadcasts, and press conferences....[6]

He enjoyed classical music, purchased high-end electronic stereo equipment, patronized jazz clubs, and was a member of Pittsburgh's expensive and fashionable Duquesne Club.


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/1957 February15 February 195717 February 1957US
St Simons Island
Georgia (State)
The earliest ever Bilderberg in the year, number 5, was also first one outside Europe.
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