Gerald W. McEntee
Gerald W. McEntee is the President of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (AFSCME), one of the most aggressive and politically active organizing unions in the AFL-CIO. McEntee was first elected AFSCME President in 1981 and was re-elected in July 2008 to another four-year term. AFSCME membership has increased annually throughout the years of McEntee’s presidency.
As a Vice President of the AFL-CIO and chair of its Political Education Committee, McEntee is a key leader of the labor movement and its political efforts. Under McEntee’s leadership, the federation created its highly successful and much imitated voter education and mobilization program, which increased the number of union household voters to a record 26 percent of the electorate in the last Presidential election.
McEntee has long been a leader in the fight to reform the nation’s health care system. He chairs the AFL-CIO’s Health Care Committee and is a co-chair of Health Care for America NOW!, the national grassroots coalition that successfully mobilized to pass President Obama’s historic Affordable Care Act of 2010.
McEntee is a co-founder and chairman of the board of the Economic Policy Institute, the preeminent voice for working Americans on the economy. He led the successful fight to stop President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security, was an outspoken proponent for increasing the federal minimum wage, and is one of the nation’s leading advocates for America’s vital public services.
For his efforts to improve the lives of working families, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights presented McEntee with its prestigious Hubert H. Humphrey Award in 2004.
Before assuming the presidency of AFSCME, McEntee began his distinguished career as a labor leader in Pennsylvania in 1958. He led the drive to unionize more than 75,000 Pennsylvania public service employees, which at that time was one of the largest union organizing campaigns in history. He was elected executive director at the founding convention of AFSCME Council 13 in Pennsylvania in 1973 and an International Vice President of AFSCME in 1974.
McEntee holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from LaSalle University in Philadelphia. A native of Philadelphia, McEntee and his wife Barbara live in Washington, DC. He’s the proud father of four daughters and grandfather of eight.