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Shuler and Redmond elected at helm of AFL-CIO, ‘a historic day for the labor movement’

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By AFSCME Staff ·
Shuler and Redmond elected at helm of AFL-CIO, ‘a historic day for the labor movement’
Left: Liz Shuler. Right: Fred Redmond.

Liz Shuler and Fred Redmond were elected today to serve as president and secretary-treasurer, respectively, of the AFL-CIO, becoming the first woman to lead the labor federation and the first African American to serve as its second-in-command.

“This is a historic day for the labor movement,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders, who, as a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, voted in favor of Shuler and Redmond. “Both these leaders have dedicated their lives to the fight for working people and are ready for the challenges ahead. From the PRO Act to voting rights to infrastructure and a lot more, we have a full agenda.”

The AFL-CIO is a federation of 56 unions and 12.5 million members – of which AFSCME is one of the largest. The election of Shuler and Redmond comes after the sudden passing of Richard Trumka on Aug. 5. Trumka had served as president of the AFL-CIO since 2009.

“I am humbled, honored and ready to guide this federation forward,” Shuler said after her election. “I believe in my bones the labor movement is the single greatest organized force for progress. 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 had served as the AFL-CIO’s secretary-treasurer since 2009. She was the first woman elected to that position and the youngest woman ever on the federation’s Executive Council.

She grew up in a union household had a long career at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), where she played many roles, including that of assistant to the international president.

Redmond became a member of the United Steelworkers (USW) in 1973 and would go on to serve three terms as his local’s president, before joining the USW staff in the 1990s. He was elected USW’s international vice president for human affairs in 2006 and had served on the AFL-CIO Executive Council beginning in 2008.

“I could not be more excited to get to work with President Shuler so we can build on the labor movement’s legacy of change, writing a new chapter that brings the promise of union membership to workers across this country,” Redmond said. “This is the right team at the right time to help bring about the economic and social justice America is hungry for.”

Along with Tefere Gebre, who will continue as executive vice president of the AFL-CIO, Shuler and Redmond represent the most diverse team of officers ever to lead the AFL-CIO.

AFSCME congratulates the newly elected officers and looks forward to their strong and continued leadership in the labor movement.

“I have 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,” Saunders said.

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