Updated: June 12, 2017
The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) mourns the passing of DPE President Emeritus Jack Golodner. On May 13, 2017, Golodner passed away after a brief illness at the age of 85. On behalf of the DPE board and staff, our heartfelt condolences go out to the entire Golodner family.
Golodner had been DPE’s president emeritus since his retirement in 2001. He served as the president of DPE at the organization’s founding in 1977. Golodner also led the organization that preceded DPE, the Council of the AFL-CIO Unions for Scientific, Professional and Cultural Employees (SPACE) from 1967 until 1977.
Together with then-president of the American Federation of Teachers Al Shanker, Golodner pushed for the creation of DPE. Shanker and Golodner saw professionals as an important, growing group within the AFL-CIO and believed there should be a special department to address their needs. As president of DPE, Golodner was a voice for professionals before Congress, in the press, and as a contributor to many scholarly journals on the professional workforce.
Golodner was also a fervent advocate for the arts. As described by Livingston Biddle in his book, “Our Government and the Arts: A Perspective from the Inside,” Golodner was at the table for the founding of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). In 1965, Golodner and then-president of Actors’ Equity Association Fred O’Neal went through and edited the enacting legislation for these two institutions (S.1483), line by line. Golodner even framed a new paragraph for the legislation’s opening “declaration of purpose.” It reflected, expanded on, and clarified earlier concepts put forth by the main sponsor of the NEA and NEH legislation, U.S. Senator Claiborne de Borda Pell, and repeated comments made by U.S. President Lyndon Johnson. The paragraph Golodner crafted read:
The Congress hereby finds and declares that the practice of art and study of the humanities require constant dedication and devotion at that, while no government can call a great artist or scholar into existence, it is necessary and appropriate for the federal government to help create and sustain not only a climate encouraging freedom of thought, imagination, and inquiry but also material conditions facilitating the release of this creative talent.
Golodner went on to help draft language for numerous amendments to the bill that would ultimately lead to its passage.
Golodner was a member of the Labor Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations and Trade Policy of the U.S. Department of Labor, executive director of the Labor Institute for Human Enrichment, member of the Advisory Committee on Salaried and Professional Workers to the International Labour Organization, first vice president of the International Secretariat of Media and Entertainment Unions, member of the National Executive Board of the Industrial Relations Research Association, executive committee member of the New American Realities Project, and an advisory council member of the Center for Theory and Simulation in Science and Engineering at Cornell University. Golodner also served on the Board of Directors of the National Theatre, Board of Directors of the American Council on the Arts, and as vice chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Actors Studio in New York.
Jack’s activism and dedication to the labor community, the arts, and the rights of all workers was just who Jack was. He will be greatly missed.
If you knew Jack or were touched by his work and would like to share a thought, comment, or memory, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A memorial service will be held for Jack on July 10, 2017 at 1:30pm in the Gompers Room at the AFL-CIO building. Those planning on attending should RSVP to email@example.com. Full service details can be viewed here.