Remembering Legendary Troublemaker Jerry Tucker

We learned with sadness that Jerry Tucker died this morning. We will be posting a fuller remembrance in the coming days, but wanted to share the following video from the 2012 Labor Notes conference. Jerry received a Troublemaker's Award for his lifetime of rabble-rousing, and below is what we wrote in the program book to honor his many achievements, together with his video acceptance.

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.

Jerry was on board at the founding of US Labor Against the War and the Labor Campaign for Single Payer, as well as the Center for Labor Renewal. Last year he helped train public employees in Wisconsin trying to reorganize in the aftermath of their uprising. He has spent his life fighting for workers and challenging the labor movement to stand up for its original mission of solidarity, democracy, and accountability.

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Smithb12 | 10/27/12

Today at the state American Federation of Teachers convention in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, we remembered Jerry Tucker and the support he provided to our UW and state workers over these last two years. He traveled to Madison from St. Louis to teach a Solidarity School, and came back several other times to have intensive meetings and trainings, and kept in touch with us by phone, as we set up a multi-union organizing effort at the University of Wisconsin. Today at our convention, we read a short list of his contributions to the labor movement and observed a moment of silence in Jerry's memory.