José Ignacio Rucci - Trade Unionist Career

Trade Unionist Career

The son of modest Italian immigrants, he was born in Alcorta, Santa Fe Province, and emigrated to Buenos Aires as a young man to find work. He became a steelworker in the La Ballester-Molina weapons' factory. There, he met Hilario Salvo, leader of the recently founded Unión Obrera Metalúrgica (UOM) steelworkers' union.,

Rucci was present on Plaza de Mayo, as well as thousands of workers, on 17 October 1945, a historical date in Peronism. Elected trade union delegate for the first time in 1947, he retained this function until 1953.

Following the self-styled Revolución Libertadora, a military coup which ousted Perón in 1955, Rucci progressively acquired fame by participating in the Peronist Resistance movement, and was jailed several times for breaching decree 4,161, which proscribed the very mention of Perón's name. Following the creation of the 62 Organizations, the political branch of the CGT, to which he ascribed, Rucci quickly progressed inside the unions' hierarchy, alongside fellow UOM leader Augusto Vandor.

At first a unionist leader in the SOMISA steelworking factory in San Nicolás de los Arroyos (the nation's largest), he assumed the post of press secretary of the UOM in 1960, and sat on its board of directors alongside Vandor, Paulino Niembro, Avelino Fernández and Lorenzo Miguel. He was named inspector in 1964 for the San Nicolás de los Arroyos union local, where he later became the general secretary.

Rucci strongly opposed the unionist Agustín Tosco, the leader of the Córdoba trade union Luz y Fuerza, who held a more leftist position than Rucci, and opposed the syndical bureaucracy's "participationist" (pragmatic) stance towards the military government of General Juan Carlos Onganía, installed in 1966.

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