Shaun ‘Jack’ Maloney: A Working-Class Hero

Shaun “Jack” Maloney, one of the leaders of the Minneapolis Teamsters in the 1930s, died in Seattle on Dec. 19, 1999. He was 88 years old. In the Minneapolis Teamster Strikes of 1934-1937, he was a leader of the “flying squads” organized by the union to enforce strikes. During the 1934 strike, he and 66 other striking Teamsters were shot down by the Minneapolis Police.

In spite of the actions of the cops and the government, Jack Maloney’s convictions never wavered and he stood firm with the rest of the union to win a tremendous victory. The Minneapolis Teamsters strike helped pave the way for the rise of the CIO in the 1930s.

Maloney served two years in federal prison on frame-up federal charges in the course of the successful organizing of the over the-road truck drivers in the late 1930s. He was released from jail in 1942 when he left to go to Seattle. In Seattle he was a leader in the Seamen’s Union of the Pacific, and later in the International Longshoremen’s Union for over five decades.

From the time he was a teenager to his dying days, Shaun Maloney was an uncompromising fighter for and of the working class. He was forever confident in the power of the working class-the polar opposite of the current trade-union leadership in this country. In the words of John Lennon, he was “a working class hero,” which “is something to be.” The best tribute to Shaun Maloney is not to mourn, but to organize and help build a society that eliminates the exploitation of the working class.

A memorial meeting will take place Jan. 15, 2 p.m., King County Labor Temple, 2800 First Ave., Seattle, (206) 781-1279.

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