Press Release

Statement on the Life of Gerald W. McEntee, Founding President of Working America


Washington, D.C. — News of the passing of Gerald (Jerry) W. McEntee is a loss for our brothers, sisters, siblings and all of us in the labor movement, especially those from his home union of AFSCME. In addition to zealously representing his members, McEntee’s leadership as the founding president of Working America in 2003 extended the labor movement’s reach and bond with 3.5 million working-class people who do not yet have a union on the job. His involvement has had generational implications, setting the predicate for an organization of working people that has improved the economic security of millions of workers and helped win critical policy and electoral victories.

“Jerry McEntee was a visionary leader and one of the most fearless, ferocious advocates working people have ever had,” said Lee Saunders, current president of AFSCME and Working America. “Standing up for people who strengthen their communities through public service was his passion and his life’s work.”

Karen Nussbaum, the founding director of Working America, said, “Jerry McEntee was very demanding — he knew the importance of elevating workers’ interests in politics and he expected results. We had to work hard to prove the value of Working America to President McEntee, but once we did, he became our strongest supporter and president of our board.”

On behalf of the millions of lives touched by Jerry McEntee’s support for Working America, and the many more to come, we are thankful for a life well lived and thank his AFSCME family and loved ones for sharing his time with all of us.



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