Jacob Clayman, labor leader, dies

May 27, 1991|By New York Times News Service

Jacob Clayman, a former president of the Industrial Union Department of the AFL-CIO and retired president of the National Council of Senior Citizens, died Friday of a heart attack at his home in Silver Spring. He was 86.

Mr. Clayman was president emeritus of the National Council of Senior Citizens. His last years had been spent lobbying on behalf of the aging, and his organization had won major legislative gains in defense of the Social Security system and had played an important role in the 1981 White House Conference on Aging.

Born in Boston, he moved to Niles, Ohio, and worked his way through Oberlin College. He went on to the University of Michigan, receiving a law degree in 1930.

He began practicing law in Detroit, then returned to Niles, where he practiced labor law.

In 1941, he was elected to the Ohio Legislature.

In 1943, he became general counsel to the Ohio state Congress of Industrial Organizations and was elected full-time secretary treasurer in 1948. He served in that post until the organization merged with the American Federation of Labor in 1955. After the merger, he was named special assistant to the president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers in New York.

He returned to Ohio in 1958 to take part in labor's successful fight against a proposed anti-union law. He then served the Ohio State AFL-CIO as its representative at the state Legislature and practiced law with his brother, David, in Columbus.

Mr. Clayman was appointed administrative director of the Industrial Union Department in 1960.

A founder of the Consumer Federation of America, he was named the first president of the advocacy group in 1968. He also served on the board of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, as president of the National Civil Liberties Clearing House and as vice president of the American Immigration and Citizenship Conference.

In addition to his brother, he is also survived by his wife, Helen Clayman of Silver Spring; two daughters, Miriam Yale of Silver Spring and Cece Kurtz of Denver; another brother, Philip Clayman of Columbia, Md.; four grandchildren; and two great grandchildren.

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