Charles J. “Chick” O’Leary was born January 25, 1937 in Bangor, Maine. His parents were Charles, Sr. and Doris (Foley) O’Leary. He was childhood friends with William S. “Bill” Cohen; they played ball together. He attended John Bapst high school and started college at St. Michael’s, then took a year off to work on an oil rig and completed his studies at the University of Maine, Orono, receiving a master’s in History. He taught at Winslow High School then went to Beirut on a Fulbright grant. He later was hired by Ben Dorsky to help with the Standard Paper strike, then succeeded Roger Snow as Director of Labor Education at UMO. He was elected president of AFL-CIO in 1979.
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Beam, Greg, "O'Leary, Charles J. "Chick" oral history interview" (2000). Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection. 311.