Even After Death, Jerry Tucker Inspires Labor Activists

by  Micah  Uetricht

Jerry Tucker's time of advocacy is over, but the organizing strategies he pioneered are still very much alive in movements all over the country. (Brad Perkins / Flickr / Creative Commons)

Jerry Tucker’s time of advocacy is over, but the organizing strategies he pioneered are still very much alive in movements all over the country. (Brad Perkins / Flickr / Creative Commons)

In January, an obituary of Jerry Tucker, who died of pancreatic cancer a year ago at age 73, characterized the longtime labor activist as “the man who could have saved organized labor.”

Tucker might have balked at the suggestion that he himself could have been the savior of organized labor. He fervently believed that workers could save themselves—through democratic, militant unionism led by rank-and-file members. Earlier this month, Tucker’s vision was remembered and debated in his hometown of St. Louis, Miss., as about 100 unionists from throughout the country gathered at the “Jerry Tucker: The Person, The Mission, The Legacy” conference at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Continue reading

Register Now for “Jerry Tucker: The Person, The Mission, The Legacy”

For more than 30 years, Jerry Tucker was an inspiring figure of the labor movement. His untimely passing in October 2012 was mourned by many in the labor community and beyond. Over the years, Jerry was a rank-and-file worker, union leader and adviser, and mentor to many. This conference explores Jerry’s work within the labor movement and examines the fundamental question that he wrestled with throughout his long career: How do we build a powerful social movement and exercise the collective might of the working class through true solidarity, accountability and democracy? We will discuss how to apply Jerry’s vision to today’s struggles, and we will celebrate his extraordinary life through music, videos and personal testimony.

The registration deadline for Jerry Tucker: The Person, The Mission, The Legacy, St. Louis, October 11-13, is rapidly approaching.

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Jerry Tucker, Dissident UAW Organizer, Dies

Labor NotesMark Brenner has a tribute to legendary dissident United Auto Workers organizer Jerry Tucker who  died on Friday.

Jerry Tucker’s name is legendary, and on so many fronts. He led the successful effort to beat back a right-to-work referendum in Missouri in 1978, uniting unions and farm organizations. He reintroduced work-to-rule strategies to UAW plants, winning critical early fights against concessions (read about them in the Troublemaker’s Handbook).

As the concessions trend picked up steam, Jerry stood at the head of the New Directions Movement within the UAW in the 1980s, pledged to resist both givebacks and the “partnership” mentality. He dared to run for UAW regional director against the “jointness” candidate—and won, despite a slew of dirty tricks.

Jerry later turned to advising workers and unions in a host of industries. His tactics were adopted by the workers at the Staley plant in Decatur, Illinois, before and during their lockout, as detailed in the book Staley.