Wurf Memorial Fund
Jerry Wurf, 1919-1981: A Short Biography
Dr. Martin Luther King, P. J. Ciampa and Jerry Wurf
discuss the strike.
Photo by Richard L. Copley
As national president of the American Federation of State,
County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Jerry Wurf stood out as the
twentieth century’s most influential leader in organizing U.S. public
Born in New York on May 18, 1919, the son of immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian
Empire, Jerry Wurf developed polio at age 4. Later in life he lamented
that, when it comes to health, he suffered from more afflictions than
Job. Despite these many maladies, Jerry Wurf became a forceful communicator
known for a foghorn voice and a steely determination to reshape the labor
for the entire short biography
The Jerry Wurf Memorial Fund was established in memory of
Jerry Wurf, the late President of the American Federation of State,
County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Its income is used to
initiate programs and activities that "reflect Jerry Wurf's belief
in the dignity of work, and his commitment to improving the quality
of lives of working people, to free open thought and debate about
public policy issues, to informed political action. ..and to reflect
his interests in the quality of management in public service,
especially as it assures the ability of workers to do their jobs
with maximum effect and efficiency in environments sensitive to
their needs and activities.
Here for more information about AFSCME
and the Jerry Wurf Scholarship.
2003 Wurf Memorial Lecture
2003 Wurf Memorial Lecture:"The Future of the Democratic Party
and the Latino Vote", with Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico
Opening Remarks by Elena Kagan, Dean, Harvard Law School
This is a great privilege for us. Actually,
before I say anything else I'd like to welcome Jerry Wurf's family:
Mildred Wurf and his children, Abigail and Nick Wurf. We are extremely
pleased that you could join us today.
For those of you who don't know, Jerry Wurf
was the seventh president of AFSCME, the American Federation of State,
County and Municipal Employees, which is now one of the biggest unions
in America. Most of that union's great growth, really its coming into
being as a major force in the union movement, took place under Jerry
Wurf, who was really one of the great modern labor leaders. Click
on brochure for full speech....
2001 Wurf Memorial Lecture
2001 Wurf Memorial Lecture:"The Strength of America", with the
Honorable Albert J. Gore
Opening Remarks by Lawrence H. Summers, President, Harvard University
Al Gore is going to speak to us about the strength
of America. In a moment, I want to say a few words about the strength of
Al Gore but, before I do, I want to say a few words about public service.
I want to recognize Jerry Wurf, someone I knew well as his family vacationed
near mine in Wellfleet, Massachusetts and someone who I admired for his
commitment to doing the right thing by the people he represented and doing
the right thing by this country. Jerry made what I think is a point that
none of us at the university can make often enough or strongly enough and
that is the importance of public service. There was only one group of people
who were going up the stairs in the World Trade Center on September 11 and
those were public servants. Public servants. People who are paid by taxes.
People who were workers in the government of New York City, workers in the
government of New York State and workers in the government of the United
States. Anyone who wants to say that government work is wrong or that government
is wrong or that government is bad should think about those people going
up those stairs at that moment. Click on the brochure cover for more...