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Liz Shuler Becomes The 1st Woman To Lead The AFL-CIO

Liz Shuler will serve as president of AFL-CIO till June 2022 after being elected by the federation's executive council. She replaces longtime labor leader Richard Trumka who died unexpectedly earlier this month.
Liz Shuler will serve as president of AFL-CIO till June 2022 after being elected by the federation's executive council. She replaces longtime labor leader Richard Trumka who died unexpectedly earlier this month.

Liz Shuler will serve as president of the AFL-CIO, following the death of longtime president Richard Trumka earlier this month.

The AFL-CIO executive council elected her to the position on Friday. Shuler is the federation's first woman president. Following Trumka's death, Shuler was serving as acting president, and had served as secretary-treasurer, the No. 2 office, since 2009.

"I am humbled, honored and ready to guide this federation forward," Shuler said in a statement.

"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," she added.

Shuler takes on the top position at a time when the organization has to make a decision between continuing to support the passage of legislation including the pro-union Protecting the Right to Organize Act that Trumka heavily supported, or embracing the broadening of the labor movement in the U.S.

Before joining AFL-CIO, Shuler spent a large portion of her career organizing with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. She started as a local organizer with IBEW in 1993. By 2004, she had worked her way up to assistant to the international president, a position she stayed in until 2009 when she campaigned with Trumka for the top spots in the AFL-CIO.

Fred Redmond, international vice president of the United Steelworkers, was elected to serve as secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO. Redmond is the first African American to hold the second-ranking office.

"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 in a statement. "This is the right team at the right time to help bring about the economic and social justice America is hungry for."

Both Shuler and Redmond will be in their positions until June of next year, when they will have a chance to be reelected by delegates at the AFL-CIO convention. Shuler has already said she will run for reelection in 2022.

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