AFL-CIO Convention delegates on June 12 elected Liz Shuler to serve as president of the federation of 57 unions and 12.5 million members. Shuler is the first woman to hold the office in the history of the labor federation. Delegates also elected Fred Redmond to serve as secretary-treasurer; he is the first African American to hold the office.
SIU President Michael Sacco, the longest-serving member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, oversaw the election and later was re-elected to the board. The SIU delegation to the convention also included Executive Vice President Augie Tellez, Secretary-Treasurer David Heindel and Vice Presidents Dean Corgey, George Tricker, Nicholas Celona, Joseph Soresi, Nick Marrone and Tom Orzechowski.
Other convention happenings included an in-person address by President Joe Biden, and passage of a pro-Jones Act resolution that was read by Heindel.
Immediately after her election, Shuler stated, “We are going to amplify the voices of working people – their hopes, struggles, and demands. This is more than a comeback story. This is a new story, yet to be told. A story we will write, on our terms, to be written by every one of us. A new era for all working people across this country. And generations from now, they’ll tell the story of how we succeeded, together, in solidarity.”
In her acceptance speech, Shuler delivered a call to action to organize, innovate and reshape the labor movement to meet the moment that the country is in as it continues to emerge from the COVID- 19 pandemic. Shuler also announced the AFL-CIO’s plan to activate one million workers throughout all 50 states to participate in the electoral process.
Redmond said, “We will keep fighting until every worker in this country has the chance to have a good, union job. Everybody in, nobody out. And we’re going to fix our labor laws and make that a reality. I know what the labor movement does. It brings the marginalized in from the margins. It brings respect to the disrespected. It lets people come together and collectively bargain for their own future.”
From 2009 until 2021, Shuler served as the AFLCIO’s secretary-treasurer. She assumed the role of president following the passing of Richard Trumka in 2021.