St. Louis Labor Conference Oct. 11-13 will remember the life and legacy of Jerry Tucker


St. Louis – Jerry Tucker, a labor leader who helped defeat the 1978 anti-union, anti-worker right-to-work (for less) campaign in Missouri, will be remembered, and how his vision applies to today’s struggles will be discussed at the St. Louis Labor Conference, Oct. 11-13 at the Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel and on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

The conference will take place at the Sheraton on Friday evening, and at UMSL on the third floor of the Millennium Student Center in Century Room A, B and C on Saturday and Sunday.

Tucker, who died last year at age 73, was a former director of United Auto Workers Region 5 and a seminal figure in the late 20th and early 21st Century U.S. labor movement. Many who knew him, were inspired by him and mourned his passing in October 2012.

The St. Louis Labor Conference will honor Tucker’s legacy and continue his mission.

The Conference is being sponsored by the Center for Labor Renewal, Missouri Jobs with Justice and the UMSL Labor Studies Certificate Program.

Registration is $75 and includes a Friday reception and Saturday lunch. Register at


Tucker saw a militant and democratic labor movement as the central player in the pursuit of social and economic justice.

Considered a zealot in his belief that cooperation with management was not the road to victory in labor struggles, he counseled “no striking” but rather “working-to-rule” inside the plant to slow down production, and then not volunteering to help when things start to go wrong.

“Work-to-rule is not walking away from a fight,” Tucker would say, “but a different way to fight,” showing the company that a business cannot be run without the knowledge and skills of the workers.


In the historic 1978 right-to-work (for less) campaign in Missouri, Tucker was at the heart of building coalitions with civil rights, religious farm and labor groups.

His efforts, combined with those of many others in that fight, turned around an early two-to-one “for” the issue stance into a three-to-two defeat at the ballot box.


A brilliant strategist of creative, member-driven union campaigns against corporate power, Tucker was an uncompromising advocate of a vision of social unionism that connected workers struggles to the broader issues of class, race, gender and power.

The St. Louis Labor Conference promises to be an inspiring gathering at a moment in history in which many of the gains that the working class has made in the past 100 years are being attacked.

Along with Tucker’s family and friends, the conference will pay tribute to his life and legacy with music, video and personal testimony.

Following Joe Hill’s instructions to “Don’t mourn, organize!”(which Tucker would have heartily concurred with), the weekend will include workshops and discussions examining the fundamental question that Tucker wrestled with throughout his long career as a rank and file worker, union leader, advisor and mentor: How do we build a powerful social movement and exercise the collective might of the working class through true solidarity, accountability and democracy?

For more information, contact Jennifer Clemente at 314-516-5994 or email:


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