New honors for former Illinois AFL-CIO President Reuben Soderstrom

Illinois Correspondent

THIS STATUE OF SODERSTROM was erected at the University of Illinois School of Labor and Employment Relations.
A VINTAGE PHOTO of Soderstrom giving a speech in 1954.

With Illinois established as a solidly pro-Labor state, honors continue to roll in for Reuben Soderstrom, who guided the growth of the Illinois AFL-CIO as its president from 1930 to 1970 and became a national leader of the Labor Movement.

The University of Illinois has erected a statue of Soderstrom behind its School of Labor and Employment Relations in “Soderstrom Plaza” and will recognize him with a posthumous award this fall.

The award is in conjunction with the International Reuben G. Soderstrom Professorship, which was bestowed upon the university to begin in this year. It is a full-time, tenured position that combines research with teaching in the school’s Master’s and PhD programs in human resources and industrial relations.

Also, the Illinois AFL-CIO is rounding up international Labor leaders, professors and academics to produce an annual Reuben G. Soderstrom lectureship at the university.

In Springfield, the Illinois AFL-CIO is renovating the front plaza of its office building, which includes erecting a statue of Soderstrom and a Labor history memorial.

Soderstrom’s hometown of Streator also has a plaza in his name.

The AFL-CIO is inviting local unions to join the celebration by purchasing an engraved brick paver to be installed on its front plaza. Each paver will literally cement its donor’s support in perpetuity.

The pavers come in two sizes and prices – 4” by 8” for $400 and 8” by 8” for 800. A link to the order form is on the front page of the Illinois AFL-CIO website,

Also, the massive, three-volume, heavily illustrated biography of Soderstrom, Forty Gavels, the Life of Reuben Soderstrom and the Illinois AFL-CIO, remains available at or on


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