AFL-CIO’s Black History Month Profiles: William Lucy

Labor News

William Lucy of ASCME

Reprinted from the AFL-CIO’s Now by Kenneth Quinnell on February 7, 2021.

This year, for Black History Month, the AFL-CIO is taking a look at a group of leaders who have made Black history across the labor movement. Check back daily for a new profile and meet some of the people working to improve not only the conditions for working people in their community, but also across the country. Today’s profile is William Lucy.

The famous slogan, “I Am A Man,” is credited to William Lucy, who was elected president of Public Services International in 1994, the first African American to hold the post. He co-founded the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists in 1972. In 1995, he was appointed to the AFL-CIO Executive Council. He served as vice president of the AFL-CIO’s Maritime Trades Department, Department for Professional Employees and the Industrial Union Department. Lucy was secretary-treasurer of AFSCME from 1972 until his retirement in 2010. Lucy co-founded the Free South Africa Movement, a grassroots anti-apartheid campaign, and was part of an AFL-CIO delegation monitoring elections when Nelson Mandela was elected the first black president of South Africa. …

AFL-CIO now 2/7

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Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at