POLLOCK, SAMUEL (21 June 1909-4 Mar. 1983) labor union activist and pioneer in securing health care and retirement benefits for union members, was born in Cleveland, the son of Isadore and Sonia Gordon Pollock. The family moved to Toledo in 1914 where he attended school, graduating from Woodward High School in 1926. He also took courses at the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State.
Pollock, following in his father's footsteps, became involved in a bitter strike at Toledo Auto-Lite in 1934, lost his job, and was blacklisted for his activities on behalf of Federal Union 18384 of the UAW. Labeled a radical for his socialist views, Pollock remained outside labor's mainstream until 1938 when he was hired by the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America (the Amalgamated) to organize local 372 in Akron, Ohio. His skills were recognized in 1941 when he became Amalgamated's general organizer. Pollock came to Cleveland in 1950 when local 372 merged with Amalgamated District 427 and was appointed interim District president in 1952. His aggressive leadership secured a 2-year contract establishing a 5-day, 40-hour work week, substantial wage increases, and an employer-paid Health and Welfare Fund, one of the first in the nation. Pollock was elected District president in 1953. Under his stewardship the Health & Welfare Fund established dental and eye care programs for its membership. The district also organized a Community Health Foundation in 1964, the first prepaid, direct-service medical care program in Northeastern Ohio, and the following year it established a portable national pension plan funded by employers for all Amalgamated members. Pollock retired from the union in 1973, moving to Chatsworth, California where he taught courses in Health Science at California State University at Northridge.
Pollock married Sally (Sarah) DeVera Kooperman 23 April 1934 and they had a daughter Frances Packard who died in 1968. He died in Chatsworth, and his remains were cremated.
United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, Direct 427, Records, 1937-73, WRHS.
Hansen, Roger Hall. Sam Pollock, Labor Activist: From Radical to Reformer, 1932-1972 (Ph.D. Diss., Bowling Green State University, Aug. 1993).
Last Modified: 21 Jul 1997 04:19:25 PM
Sam Pollock Papers, 1932-1982, Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio.