Stewart Acuff is America’s foremost labor organizer. He started union organizing in 1982 as the Service Employees International Union organizing coordinator in Texas where he and his team organized 12 nursing homes in two years. In 1985, Stewart Acuff went to Georgia where he founded SEIU Local 1985 and built the union up to 3000 members. In 1990, he became president of the Atlanta AFL-CIO where he organized and led the historic campaign to unionize the 1996 Olympics, labor’s biggest victory ever in the South. In 2000 he went to work for the national AFL-CIO. Stewart Acuff was organizing director from 2001-2008. Under his tenure the labor movement grew by more than it had in a generation. Stewart Acuff developed the policy and legislation which became the Employee Free Choice Act and led the campaign to pass it. Stewart Acuff then worked as Chief of Staff of the Utility Workers Union of America until May, 2012.
A regular guest on Fox TV’s Neil Cavuto show, he’s received death threats after some appearances for his views on labor, the economy, and the right to organize. The son of a minister, Acuff’s persona is earnest but polite, his voice still carrying the cadences of his southern upbringing. Among others, he has met Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton. In his own words, he was:
“… John Sweeney’s assistant and primary surrogate for two years. I’ve appeared regularly on Fox News and Fox Business, C-Span has televised several entire speeches. I’ve also appeared on PBS, NPR, CNBC, BBC, NBC, The Ed Schultz Show, and The Thom Hartmann Show. I’ve known or worked with Andrew Young, Bill Clinton, Maynard Jackson, John Lewis, Harold Ford, Shirley Franklin, Kris Kristofferson, Rev. James Orange, David Bonior, Jim Hightower, Roy Barnes, Sen. Wyche Fowler, and many others. I was a UN Election Observer in 1996 in Sierra Leone during their Civil War and helped negotiate my team’s emergency rescue. I’ve been jailed more than a dozen times for nonviolent civil disobedience. I organized the only time in history that corrections officers and their union filed a motion to join an inmate lawsuit against a state.” -Stewart Acuff
Stewart is available to speak at your local union meeting, event, environmental event, or your regional or national gathering. He is also available for trainings on every aspect of organizing, mobilization, bargaining, and strategic campaigning. He is also available for Book Readings and Author Events. For bookings or media inquiries, please CLICK HERE.
Photo credit: (Joe Kekeris/AFL-CIO)