Consider that District Council 37 had fewer than
1,000 members when Jerry Wurf took over its
leadership in 1952, and that it ultimately embraced
a multiethnic, multiracial mix of locals, from labor-
ers (Local 924), to hospital employees (Local 420),
Museum of Natural History employees (1559),
New York City psychologists (1189), accountants,
actuaries, and statisticians (1407), park attendants
(1505), Metropolitan Museum of Art employees
(1503)all representing members with varying
degrees of educationand you have a “rags to
riches” story that is truly remarkable. There are
now some 60 locals, plus a Retirees’ Association,
for a total membership of 110,000 in District
Council 37 (New York City’s branch of the Ameri-
can Federation of State, County and Municipal
EmployeesAFSCME), making it the largest
municipal union in the country.
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