Jerry Wurf Organizing Award: Minnesotans For Better Mental Health Care

The Jerry Wurf Organizing Award is given each year to an individual member, local, or group of workers who work tirelessly and effectively at organizing, empowering workers, and growing our union. Jerry Wurf, after whom the award is named, got his start in the labor movement picking up jobs in New York City cafeterias and organizing his co-workers to form a union.

We're proud to present the 2020 Jerry Wurf Organizing Award to a group of members who have formed Minnesotans For Better Mental Health Care to advocate for higher standards, better service, and working conditions for all of those affected with mental health issues. 

At AFSCME, as an organizer and eventually as the International President, Jerry radically changes our union, our organizing practices, and the basis by which public employees were perceived. Jerry fought tirelessly for public employees to be viewed, not as public servants who should be grateful to have a job, but as workers who should be treated with dignity and respect.

The COVID-19 global pandemic with its rising positive cases and death toll, social isolation and social distancing, working remotely or working in often precarious working conditions and shut downs are exacerbating mental illness, depression and anxiety. This reality drove AFSCME Council 5 members, non-members, and perfect strangers to come together for a series of educational summits and weekly mental health check ins every Tuesday morning and evening. 

The workers of the group Minnesotans For Better Mental Health Care have and continue to demonstrate the values of what it means to be AFSCME: Caring for others.