An icon from the 1950s until the 1980s in the realm of labor disputes has passed on at the age of 96. Theodore W. Kheel lived in Manhattan and died there on Friday. Kheel was famous as a mediator and arbitrator, much sought after to avert or end strikes which could wreak havoc on the services of not just the City but on the federal level as well.
Mr. Kheel’s role was essential in ending disputes between governments and teachers, newspapers, and subways, and he was the address for mayors, labor leaders and also businessmen at the highest levels during the post-World War Two era. In those days unions wielded a lot more power than they do today, and only the best arbitrator could pressure and persuade the sides of the dispute to reach a settlement. That persuader was more often than not, Mr. Theodore Kheel.