Utility Workers Union of America, Chief of Staff & Assistant to President
Stewart Acuff is the Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA).
Prior to working for the UWUA, Stewart Acuff was named Director of Organizing for the AFL-CIO in October, 2002 by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, who noted Acuff’s “strong leadership skills and a deep passion for the potential of unions to lift working people's lives.”
As organizing director, Acuff coordinated strategies to help working men and women join and form unions across the federation’s 53 member unions. He has been a community organizer and union organizer for 25 years, except for a brief stint as a truck driver. From 1977 to 1982, he worked as a community organizer in Missouri, Texas, Tennessee and New Hampshire for organizations affiliated with ACORN and Citizen Action.
In 1982, he joined the union movement as the organizing coordinator for the Service Employees International Union in Texas, where he was responsible for a campaign in which employees of 12 Beverly Enterprises nursing homes organized into the SEIU. In 1985, he became executive director of the Georgia State Employees Union/SEIU Local 1985. He helped build a union of 2,500 state workers despite the fact that public employees in Georgia had no collective bargaining rights, no dues check-off, no rights to meet and confer and no provisions for union recognition.
Acuff was elected president of the Atlanta Labor Council in 1991, where he served for nine years. In 2000, he joined the AFL-CIO staff as deputy director of field mobilization for the Midwest region. He served as deputy director of organizing from 2001 until becoming director.
Acuff writes and speaks extensively. He has written articles for the Atlanta Constitution, Labor Research Review, In These Times, The Nation, Foreign Policy and Focus Magazine, Labor Studies Journal, New Labor Forum and several Georgia newspapers. He also has written essays in Which Way for Organized Labor? (edited by Bruce Nissen) and Organizing for Justice in Our Communities (edited by Immanuel Ness and Stuart Eimer). He is a member of the Federal Reserve Bank Advisory Council, the National Steering Committee of Jobs with Justice, the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta and numerous other organizations.