On Monday, during the 2010 American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees(AFSCME) Convention in Boston, MA, delegates paid tribute to former Secretary-Treasurer William "Bill" Lucy, who formally announced his retirement in early February.
Bidding farewell amid chants of “Thank you, Bill,” Lucy stressed the importance of fighting for social justice, a commitment that has characterized his public service career. “We’ve always known that there’s a crisis. It may be more intense now, but there’s always been a crisis for millions of people not as lucky as we are in this room,” Lucy said. “There’s a daily crisis in their lives, as they struggle to put bread on their tables, to put clothes on their backs, to have a roof on their heads. We have a responsibility to help them out.”
As Secretary-Treasurer for over 30 years, Lucy has been at the forefront of the labor movement. By helping AFSCME grow from 200,000 to over 1.6 million members, he has defined the role of African Americans in the labor unions. Along the way, he has not only stood beside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement, but Nelson Mandela in opposition to apartheid as well. Though his name is not as well known, Lucy has carved out a legacy based on living wages, health care benefits, and job safety. But, like Mandela and King, Lucy's legacy lives on through the lives of hundreds of thousands of working families around the world every day.