WASHINGTON, D.C. – Liz Shuler has been elected as president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). She is the first woman in the role and replaces Richard Trumka who died on Aug. 5.
Shuler is also the first International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) member to hold the position. She served as the federation’s secretary and treasury for the last 12 years.
“This is huge for the IBEW and for the labour movement. Liz is more than qualified for this role. This comes at a sombre time after the death of president Trumka, but I know he would want someone taking his place who will take the labour movement forward in a positive direction. Liz is that person after serving side-by-side with him for more than a decade,” IBEW president Lonnie Stephenson said in a statement.
“I am humbled, honoured and ready to guide this federation forward. I believe in my bones the labour movement is the single greatest organized force for progress,” Shuler said. “This is a moment for us to lead societal transformations – to leverage our power to bring women and people of colour from the margins to the centre – at work, in our unions and in our economy, and to be the centre of gravity for incubating new ideas that will unleash unprecedented union growth.”
Shuler led development of the federation’s Executive Paywatch program which tracks CEO pay at America’s largest companies and launched the AFL-CIO’s Next Up Young Workers Initiative which was designed to create leadership and activism opportunities for younger members.
Shuler also worked as an executive assistant to former president Edwin D. Hill starting in 2005.
Shuler has not formally announced her candidacy for a full, four-year term but is expected to run for re-election at the AFL-CIO’s convention in Philadelphia in June 2022, an AFL-CIO release stated.
The executive council selected Steelworkers international vice-president Fred Redmond to replace Shuler as secretary-treasurer. He is the first Black American to serve in the role. Tefere Gebere will continue as executive vice-president, a position he has held since 2013.