Matthew Simpson Lynch

Labor organizer, lobbyist, and administrator Matthew S. Lynch was the grandson of an organizer of New England shoe workers. Lynch began working in a Chattanooga hosiery mill and joined his first union as a teenager. In 1934 he graduated from the Chattanooga College of Law and began organizing for CIO-affiliated groups in Tennessee and Georgia. Following a stint in the navy during World War II, Lynch became the executive director of the Tennessee Industrial Union Council, where the bulk of his energy was spent lobbying for union issues. When the Tennessee AFL and CIO merged in 1956, Lynch became its first secretary-treasurer, a post that allowed him to forge strong relationships with Tennessee politicians. From 1963 until he retired in 1979, Lynch served as the president of the Tennessee State Labor Council and was the chief labor spokesman in the state. Throughout his career as a labor lobbyist, Lynch worked eighty-hour weeks championing labor issues such as higher minimum wage laws, repeal of the state's poll tax, simplified voter registration, and the repeal of the open shop law. Not always successful, Lynch was nonetheless a shrewd politician and one of Tennessee's most effective labor leaders.

Suggested Reading

Perry C. Cotham, Toil, Turmoil, and Triumph: A Portrait of the Tennessee Labor Movement (1995)

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  • Article Title Matthew Simpson Lynch
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  • Website Name Tennessee Encyclopedia
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  • Access Date June 21, 2024
  • Publisher Tennessee Historical Society
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 1, 2018