SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Influential Illinois labor-union organizer Paul Booth has died at 74.

Booth was affiliated with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees for more than four decades.

In the early 1970s, Booth was assistant director of AFSCME Council 31 and helped negotiate the first contracts for Illinois state employees.

The New York Times reported that he died Jan. 18 of complications of a form of leukemia.

He became the international union's area director in Illinois in the 1980s. He later was AFSCME national organizing director in Washington, D.C., and was chief assistant to then-president Gerald McEntee until 2012.

Before joining AFSCME, Booth was a national spokesman for Students for a Democratic Society and helped organize the first major march on Washington, D.C., to oppose the Vietnam War in 1965.