Liz Shuler appointed AFL-CIO President

The AFL-CIO has chosen Liz Shuler, its interim president since Richard Trumka’s death this month, to lead the federation until elections...


The AFL-CIO has chosen Liz Shuler, its interim president since Richard Trumka’s death this month, to lead the federation until elections are held next year.

Ms. Shuler was Secretary-Treasurer, the AFL-CIO’s second in charge, since 2009.

The decision to appoint Ms. Shuler as president came to an AFL-CIO executive board meeting on Friday, which Ms Shuler was forced to call a few weeks after Mr Trumka’s death under the federation’s constitution. Ms. Shuler is the group’s first female president.

“I deeply believe that the labor movement is the greatest organized force for progress,” Ms. Shuler said in a statement. “Now is the time for us to lead societal transformations – to harness our power to bring women and people of color from the margins back to the center – at work, in our unions and in our economy, and to be the center. of gravity for the incubation of new ideas that will spark unprecedented union growth.

Prior to becoming Federation Secretary-Treasurer, Ms. Shuler held various positions within the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. She said in an interview the day after Mr Trumka’s death that she had been preparing for years to lead the AFL-CIO for years and expected to run for a full four-year term next June. .

“You don’t show up one day and ask for help – the groundwork has been laid for years,” she said. “I have studied with the best and am ready to lead.”

Presidents of unions and senior executives of the AFL-CIO have spent years debate the federation’s appropriate role, with some arguing that it should primarily coordinate among its member unions and help advance their common priorities in Washington and state legislatures. Others argue that the federation should play a leading role in organizing new workers and building alliances with progressive groups, such as those promoting civil rights.

Mr Trumka, known for his close relationship with President Biden, was primarily associated with the first point of view during his later years as president of the AFL-CIO. Ms. Shuler is also identified with this approach, although she stressed in the interview that adding union members is a priority and that she has supported organizing initiatives in the past.

Some officials who support the focus on the organization want Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, to lead the federation.

But few have sought to challenge Ms. Shuler at a time when the stakes are high for unions. The AFL-CIO is pushing for the large employment and infrastructure measure proposed by Mr Biden, as well as for legislation that would make it easier for workers to form unions.

“There is a need to unify the labor movement to get to where we need to go,” Ms. Shuler said during the interview. “My job would be to promote unity and solidarity around a common agenda.”

The executive council also voted on Friday to appoint Fred redmond, a senior official with the United Steelworkers, to fill the secretary-treasurer position created by the elevation of Ms. Shuler.

Mr Redmond, who is the first black official to hold one of the two most senior positions in the AFL-CIO, has been vice president of the steelworkers union since 2005 and coordinates negotiations for members of the health sectors , pharmaceuticals and shipbuilding, as well as those in the public sector. He also oversees the union’s civil rights department and has worked with other progressive groups to campaign for the right to vote.

Steelworkers chairman Tom Conway is close to Mr Biden and has spoken openly in support of his jobs and infrastructure plans.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Liz Shuler appointed AFL-CIO President
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