AFL-CIO elects first woman as president


The AFL-CIO on Friday elected longtime labor advocate Liz Shuler as its new president.

Shuler, who served as the organization’s secretary-treasurer since 2009, is the first woman to lead the AFL-CIO in the organization’s history.

The election comes after Richard Trumka, who led the labor federation for more than a decade, passed away earlier this month.

“This is a moment for us to lead societal transformations—to leverage our power to bring women and people of color from the margins to the center—at work, in our unions and in our economy, and to be the center of gravity for incubating new ideas that will unleash unprecedented union growth,” Shuler said in a statement Friday.

The AFL-CIO also elected United Steelworkers International Vice President Fred Redmond to succeed Shuler as secretary-treasurer. Redmond is the first African American to hold the organization’s second-highest-ranking position.

“This is the right team at the right time to help bring about the economic and social justice America is hungry for,” Redmond said in a statement Friday.

The elections come at a crucial time for the AFL-CIO, which consists of 56 affiliate unions representing more than 12 million workers. The labor federation is pushing Democrats in Congress to prioritize the PRO Act, a sweeping pro-union bill meant to reverse a rapid decline in union membership.

The AFL-CIO’s executive council was expected to pick Shuler as the organization’s new president. Shuler earned a spot in the organization’s leadership during the same election that promoted Trumka to president, and the two served together for more than a decade.

Shuler will face reelection at the AFL-CIO convention in June 2022.

Before her time at the AFL-CIO, Shuler was a top official at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents 1.4 million workers, said he has “complete confidence in this leadership team’s ability to seize this moment, build on the legacy of Rich Trumka and make bold progress for working families.”

Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.), a fierce labor advocate, said in a statement Friday that Shuler “never stopped fighting for the working class of this country and the equality of all working people.”

Tags AFL-CIO Andy Levin

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