Terre Haute in Vigo County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
President, the American Federation of State,
County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME),
1964 - 1981
As president of AFSCME, Jerry Wurf was responsible for the unionís growth from 240,000 to one million members. He also helped pioneer landmark public-sector collective bargaining laws in many states.
Served as Executive Director of AFSCME District Council 37 in New York City, 1959 to 1964.
Joined AFSCME in 1947 after working as an organizer for the Food Checkers and Cashiers Union
Civil Right leader: A founder of the Congress of Racial Equality, and co-architect with A. Philip Randolph of the Strategy for the Cities followed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in his civil rights campaigns in the South.
Peace advocate: A strong voice for peace heard in the labor movement, as well as on the Council on Foreign Relations and Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy.
Jerry Wurf was called “Laborís last angry man.” Anger walked with him like an old companion- -anger against hypocrisy,
His heroes were Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas. Debsí vision of America gave Wurf his passionate belief that labor is the nationís best hope for achieving progressive social and economic change.
Wurf gave passion to the struggle to win basic rights for the nationís 14 million public workers. He asked, “If there is dignity in all work, why isnít there dignity for all workers?” He answered by telling public workers, “Collective bargaining, not collective begging!”
Wurf built AFSCME into one of the nationís largest, most powerful and progressive unions. Along the way he changed forever the American publicís attitudes towards public workers.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Labor Unions.
Location. 39° 28.312′ N, 87° 24.314′ W. Marker is in Terre Haute, Indiana, in Vigo County. Marker can be reached from North 8th Street south of Spruce Street. Located in back-yard of Eugene Debs home (museum). Can be reached by a back access drive from Sycamore Street - west of North 9th Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: (back yard of) 451 North 8th Street, Terre Haute IN 47801, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. William H. Sylvis (here, next to this marker); Joseph A. Beirne (here, next to this marker); Walter Philip ReutherPatrick J. Quinlan (here, next to this marker); Samuel Gompers (here, next to this marker); Peter J. McGuire (here, next to this marker); Michael J. Quill (here, next to this marker); Philip Murray (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Terre Haute.
Also see . . . Leaders of Industrial Unionism ::. (Submitted on August 26, 2012, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 20, 2012, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 431 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 20, 2012, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.