Jerome Ackerman

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Jerome Ackerman passed away at age 100 from natural causes on Dec. 8. Jerry, the youngest of three, was born and raised in New York City. After high school he attended the City College of New York, but his patriotic spirit drew him to join the war effort at a military aircraft manufacturing plant in Tarrytown, N.Y. That experience sparked the beginning of his interest in labor relations.

After the war, he obtained his bachelor of science degree from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, receiving the Daniel Alpern Memorial Prize for scholarship and leadership and graduating in 1948. He then went on to matriculate at Harvard Law School and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1951. From 1951-1987, he practiced law and became a partner at Covington & Burling where he specialized in employment law, energy regulatory laws and contracts.


After retiring from Covington & Burling, he was nominated to, and accepted by, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to serve as a judge on the United Nations Administrative Tribunal 1987-1995. For several years, he served as president of that tribunal. In 1999, he was appointed chairman of a UN group that was tasked with reviewing the functioning of the International War Crimes Tribunals for both Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Also at the request of the UN, in 2006 he conducted an investigation of a former UN inspector general. He traveled to American Samoa in his role as chairman of a U.S. Department of Labor Special Industry Committee, tasked with reviewing a minimum wage for that territory. In keeping with his strong interest in arbitration, he served as an arbitrator both for the American Arbitration Association and for the UN. For a time he volunteered as a mediator for the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

Jerry’s survivors include his three children, Katherine Ackerman M.D., Paul Ackerman and Anne Kolkin; and three stepchildren. He also leaves six grandchildren, Zachary Kolkin, Elliot Pennington, Alice Ackerman, Gillian Pennington, Nicholas Kolkin and Daniel Ackerman; as well as three great-grandchildren. His second wife, Claire Ackerman predeceased him. His first marriage to the late Dorothy Shorb Ackerman ended in divorce. Gifts be directed to The American Red Cross, the Jewish Social Service Agency or The Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

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