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EDWARD SWAYDUCK

June 4, 1911 -May 14, 1987

Edward Swayduck was a man with vision light years beyond his time. Life Magazine called him “energetic and unorthodox.”  He was President of Local One during New York’s printing industry’s boom, when a quarter of the country’s lithographic work was produced here.

Born in the Midwest to a lithographic family, Swayduck joined the craft after graduating from high school. He improved his skills by traveling around the country and working in plants in various states. Before entering the service as a US Marine in World War II, he served on Local One’s Negotiating Committee under then-President Albert Castro. Upon returning from service, Swayduck was elected to Local One’s Council Board in 1946. Then-President Frank Casino, Sr. appointed him Vice President in 1948 and a few months later Swayduck was elected President of Local One. He remained the Union’s president until 1975, when he resigned for health reasons.

During his tenure as president, Swayduck made major improvements to Local One’s programs and benefits. He also conceptualized and created Lithopinion, a prize-winning magazine that showcased fine graphic arts. A total of 39 issues were published and are now sought after by collectors.

 His views received nation-wide attention and both President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson invited Swayduck to the White House several times.

A January 1964 Local One newsletter stated, “The commencement of the friendship with Mr. Kennedy, which was to continue into the White House…occurred in a memorable TV interview on November 2, 1960... (in which) President Kennedy expressed his high personal regard for the long and distinguished record of Local 1.”

His forward-thinking vision extended beyond the scope of the printing industry. In 1961, Edward Swayduck was the first of multiple developers to set his sights on a parcel of land on NYC’s West Side. He envisioned “Litho City,” intended to be a “self-contained urban community” with 12,000 apartments to be built above the rail yard. His plan never materialized and the land changed hands several times. It is known today as Riverside Park South, or Trump Place.

Swayduck was a man who left an important mark upon the history of our times, and whose contributions to the printing industry and its workers have been most distinguished. His New York Times obituary read, “Mr. Swayduck gained a reputation in labor circles as a nonconformist. Unlike most union leaders of his time, he spoke out for automation and against featherbedding. He also was openly critical of other labor leaders.”

In 1970, the New School in New York City, of which he was a trustee, dedicated a 200+ seat lecture hall in his honor. The Edward Swayduck Auditorium is still in active use today.

In 1987, upon Swayduck’s death of complications from Parkinson’s disease, Local One’s Council Board Room on the fourth floor was renamed the Edward Swayduck Room.

Dates: 
Sunday, June 4, 1911 to Saturday, March 14, 1987