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Resolutions & Amendments

43rd International Convention - Boston, MA (2018)

A Resolution Honoring AFSCME’s Giants: Arnold Zander, Jerry Wurf, Bill Lucy and Gerald W. McEntee

Special Resolution
43rd International Convention
Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
July 16 - 20, 2018
Boston, MA


AFSCME is a proud union with a rich history and has been blessed with outstanding leadership. Reflecting on the achievements and honoring those who led this union is more than a celebration of nostalgia, it inspires us to meet the challenges ahead; and


Arnold Zander was AFSCME’s first President and served as AFSCME’s leader for 28 years. Prior to assuming the presidency, he was instrumental in protecting the civil service system in Wisconsin and assisting other state associations in similar fights. Zander envisioned a national union of public workers and possessed the tenacity, intelligence and political savvy to turn that vison into a reality. He secured public sector unionism’s place as a legitimate part of the labor movement and led AFSCME into the American Federation of Labor. During his time as President, Zander guided the union’s rapid growth, the development of a political program and a culture of activism, and the initiation of exclusive representation and collective bargaining for public workers. In recognition of his achievements, Arnold Zander was given the title of Honorary President upon leaving office in 1964; and


Jerry Wurf rose from his position directing District Council 37 in New York City to the AFSCME presidency in 1964. While at DC 37, Jerry Wurf  built the union from just 1,000 members into a powerful force representing over 38,000 members. The rapid growth of the union was possible in large part by the groundbreaking collective bargaining policy Wurf developed with Mayor Robert F. Wagner. That policy paved the way for widespread public sector collective bargaining throughout the nation when Wurf assumed the national presidency. Wurf was acknowledged as a brilliant strategist, an aggressive fighter for public workers and a champion of civil rights. The growth in exclusive representation and collective bargaining under President Wurf’s leadership contributed to AFSCME’s growth from 220,000 members in 1964 to nearly 1 million members at the time of his death in office in 1981; and


William “Bill” Lucy is the longest serving executive officer of AFSCME, having served as Secretary-Treasurer for 38 years. Bill Lucy is known throughout the American and international labor movements for his unbridled support for working families. His leadership and devotion to the full democratic participation of all people in matters affecting their lives have inspired and benefited workers across two generations. His personal efforts furthered civil rights in America and helped end apartheid in South Africa. Bill Lucy’s presence has been felt whenever AFSCME members or working families faced a struggle in this country or around the world. When the Memphis sanitation workers faced their historic fight in 1968, Bill Lucy was there. He remains a tireless supporter of workers’ rights and continues to go wherever his presence will assist those who are fighting for dignity, respect and fairness; and


Gerald W. McEntee has been a member and leader in AFSCME since 1956. During his time in Pennsylvania, he organized tens of thousands of workers across the state, led one of the largest and most successful strikes in U.S. labor history, achieved groundbreaking compensation and benefit improvements on behalf of our members and built Council 13 and its subcouncils into the powerhouse it is today. As International President for 31 years, President McEntee oversaw the rapid growth of our union and the emergence of AFSCME as a dominant political force in Washington, D.C. and in cities and state capitals around the nation. McEntee never shrank from a challenge and created opportunities where others only felt despair. Gerald McEntee’s political vision, innovation and tenacity on behalf of AFSCME members and all American workers led to enormous gains in rights, pay, benefits and fair treatment.


In recognition of their extraordinary achievements and leadership, delegates to AFSCME’s 43rd International Convention bestow upon former AFSCME Presidents Arnold Zander, Jerry Wurf and Gerald W. McEntee the title of President Emeritus and to former Secretary-Treasurer Bill Lucy the title of Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus. AFSCME members pay tribute to and honor their service to our union and our nation.

SUBMITTED BY: International Executive Board