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AFL-CIO Elects Top Officers at 2017 Convention in St. Louis

Trumka, Shuler, Gebre Unanimously Re-elected

Delegates to the AFL-CIO 28th Constitutional Convention in St. Louis elected Richard Trumka (UMWA) as president, Liz Shuler (IBEW) as secretary-treasurer and Tefere Gebre (UFCW) as executive vice president. In addition, delegates elected 55 vice presidents, who will serve as the Executive Council for a four-year term.

AFL-CIO sealRichard Trumka begins his third term as president of the AFL-CIO since first elected in 2009. Before his election to president, Trumka became the youngest president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) in 1982 and secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO in 1995. Born in the small coal-mining town of Nemacolin, Pennsylvania, Trumka’s commitment to improving life for working people began early. Trumka worked in the mines while attending Penn State and Villanova University law school. Throughout his leadership positions in the labor movement, Trumka has retained a strong commitment to creating an economy based on broadly shared prosperity, and holding elected officials and employers accountable to working families.

“I am humbled and honored for the opportunity to serve the working families of the AFL-CIO,” Trumka said. “We are committed to delivering on what we’ve started—a focused, independent and modern federation that works for working people and fights successfully for our shared priorities. We’ve come a long way, but we still have work to do.”

Liz Shuler begins her third term as secretary-treasurer, the second-highest position in the labor movement. First elected in 2009, she became the first woman elected as the federation’s secretary-treasurer. Shuler, a graduate of the University of Oregon, worked her way through the ranks of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) beginning at IBEW Local 125 at Portland General Electric in Portland, Oregon, where she grew up. As secretary-treasurer, Shuler has led the federation’s work to engage with young workers, promote women’s leadership, guide the future of work and ensure the federation is on solid fiscal ground.

“Serving as secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO has been the greatest honor of my life and I’m confident that together, we will adapt to the challenges ahead and secure the future of our movement,” Shuler said. “As we look ahead, we realize the future of our movement isn’t far off, and it won’t be easy. But nothing worth doing ever is.”

Tefere Gebre begins his second term as executive vice president. In 2013, Gebre became the first immigrant, political refugee, black man and local labor council leader elected as a national officer of the AFL-CIO. Born in Gondar, Ethiopia, Gebre fled state-sanctioned violence and emigrated to Los Angeles as a teenager. A graduate of Cal Poly Pomona, Gebre has devoted his entire life to the values of democracy, justice and helping workers organize to achieve a voice at the workplace. Before coming to the AFL-CIO, Gebre led the Orange County Labor Federation. As executive vice president, Gebre has focused on building strong labor-community partnerships at the local level through the movement’s central labor councils and state federations.

“These are tough times for our country, our movement, and our communities,” Gebre said. “But in the face of these challenges, I have hope of a brighter day, a stronger tomorrow and an America with liberty and justice for all. As executive vice president I pledge to do my part, lead with my heart and never stop fighting.”

On International Women’s Day, AFL-CIO Talks Of How TPP Will Negatively Impact Women

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler Highlights TPP’s Negative Impact on Women 

AFL-CIO Releases Fact Sheet on International Women’s Day 

Women and TPP(Washington, DC, March 8, 2016) – On a press call in honor of International Women’s Day, Liz Shuler, AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer and Thea Lee, AFL-CIO Deputy Chief of Staff, discussed the negative impact the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will have on women across the world.

“This International Women’s Day, the labor movement recognizes that while women in the workplace have gained a great deal, the harsh reality is too many of us continue to struggle when we shouldn’t have to,” said Shuler. “The bad policies of the TPP are another corporate attack on women and we will continue to fight for policies that lift all women up and recognize the immense contributions we make to the economy.”

“There is no question that flawed trade agreements and policies have cost America’s working women good jobs and have contributed to stagnant wages and growing inequality,” said Lee. “We need to address unfair trade practices like currency manipulation, illegal subsidies and workers’ rights violations and must defeat TPP so we do not accelerate the race to the bottom that benefits global corporations.”

Read the fact sheet: Bad Trade Deals and Their Impact on Women Globally
Lower Wages, Reduced Access to Lifesaving Healthcare and Human Trafficking

Working Women Need A Voice On The Job

Liz Shuler, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer, On Challenges Facing Women In The Workplace

National Women’s Law Center Hosted Speech Titled “Our Days, Our Lives: Working Women Need a Voice on the Job” 

This image © 2009 Jay Mallin. All rights reserved.

Liz Shuler, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer –This image © 2009 Jay Mallin. All rights reserved.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today at the historic Whittemore House, the National Women’s Law Center hosted Liz Shuler, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer, for a speech about some of the often-overlooked issues women face on the job—especially those in low-wage jobs.

Over the past 40+ years, women in the workplace have gained a great deal—laws meant to protect their rights, new freedoms, and career opportunities that were once thought unimaginable. “Even as we celebrate the advancement of women in work, the harsh reality is too many of us continue to struggle when we shouldn’t have to,” Shuler said in her speech. “Sheryl Sandberg asked us to “lean in.” But most working women are already leaning in so hard we are practically falling over. We are being forced to hang on, scrape by, and make do.”

Shuler noted that minority women workers bear the brunt of the wage gap between men and women:

“Women of color experience lower median weekly earnings, higher rates of poverty, and greater unemployment. While women overall make 79 cents on the dollar, black women and Hispanic women only make 63 cents and 54 cents, respectively. Yet the women’s movement—and yes, the labor movement—have been slow to address these issues. We cannot outsource this work to others. As feminists, we must stand up for all working women—regardless of their race and class.”

Shuler went on to announce two new AFL-CIO programs aimed at helping working women gain more control over their jobs and their futures. The AFL-CIO will be launching a national survey designed to better understand the needs and concerns of working women. “Studying the intersection of work and life will help women thrive at our jobs, with our families, and in our communities,” said Shuler. “It will help us reclaim the days of our lives” Additionally, the AFL-CIO will be developing and launching a new negotiation training program designed to help women negotiate for better wages and working conditions regardless of where they work.

“The AFL-CIO is at the forefront of helping working people live better lives and these new initiatives are an example of that leadership,” said Marcia Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center. “I applaud Liz for her efforts to raise awareness of the day-to-day challenges low-wage women face, and to put forward concrete proposals for leveling the playing field.” 

Shuler is the first woman to be elected as Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO and the youngest officer to sit on the Executive Council. She got her start in the labor movement after noticing the disparities between union and non-union counterparts in the workplace during a summer job. She joined the staff of IBEW Local 125 and worked her way up the ranks at IBEW.

The link to the full text of the speech can be found here.

AFL-CIO National Survey to Examine the Lives of Working Women

(Washington, DC) Today, the AFL-CIO released the National Survey of Working Women to capture a multifaceted picture of the lives of working women across the country, both union and nonunion.

The survey, developed under the guidance of the AFL-CIO Executive Council Committee on Working Women will ask women about their economic interests, family and work life, along with their experiences balancing their responsibilities.

“Today, with the economy in slow recovery, a new wave of attacks on collective bargaining and a presidential election on the horizon, working women’s voices are more important than ever,” said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler and Chair of the AFL-CIO Women’s Committee.

“Working women need to stand together to let employers know what we need on the job. Our survey will reach out to working women from all different walks of life, both inside and outside the labor movement and will provide a much needed look into the daily lives of working women and how they struggle to achieve the ever-elusive work-life balance,” said Diann Woodard, President of the American Federation of School Administrators and Vice-Chair of the AFL-CIO Women’s Committee.

The survey will be open from October 27 – December 4, 2015, and results will be available in March 2016 during Women’s History Month.

The survey can be accessed online at go.aflcio.org/WomensSurvey.

AFT-NH Hosts “Working Women Speak Out” (Videos)

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This election is extremely important to working women and their families.  Ensuring that we elect representatives who support women in the workplace was what the Working Women Speak Out event was focused on.

Issues facing working women are the same issues effected every Granite Stater this election.  AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Liz Shuler said, “Women’s issues are shaping up to be the second biggest issue of this election.” Working women are facing enormous challenges in our struggling economy. “Women still only make $.77 cents on the dollar compared to man, and that is a shame,” said Shuler.  In her speech, Shuler focused on reelecting Governor Hassan, Senator Shaheen, and Congresswoman Annie Kuster who all support raising the minimum wage and equal pay for equal work.  Shuler also talked about the need to pass “paid sick leave” for all workers, especially since most low wage jobs, like waiting tables, provide no paid time off when your sick.

View Liz Shuler video on YouTube

AFT-President Randi Weingarten also spoke at the event and focused how poverty and education effect working families. “Nearly half of all public school students are living below the poverty line, and one-in-four (25%) of all children nationally are living in poverty,” said Weingarten.  She also talked about how we need to ensure that we are properly funding our public school system. “The only reason we passed a nation budget was because the Republicans were embarrassed after they shut down the government,” said Weingarten. “How dare they say they support children when they cut public school budgets to give tax breaks to the 1%.”

(Randi also spoke in detail about the effects of spending caps like the one in Nashua in separate post here.)

View Randi’s speech on YouTube

Kelly Torosian, an IBEW 2320 member and an Executive Council member of the NH AFL-CIO, took a few minutes to update the crowd on the ongoing FairPoint strike. Torosian asked for people to show their support for workers standing on the picket line by donating gas cards and grocery store gift cards.  After hearing about the current struggle of striking workers, Weingarten stated, “AFT will donate $5,000 dollars to the FairPoint workers strike fund.”

The crowd of 70 people gave a standing ovation to Governor Hassan as she entered the room, showing their support for her strong leadership in the corner office.  “Building a strong innovative economy starts with a strong public schools system,” said Hassan.  Governor Hassan also spoke about the need to “restore and improve the state minimum wage.”

Hassan also brought attention to the importance of keeping Democrats in control of the NH House and not letting Bill O’Brien regain control.  As Speaker, O’Brien cut funding to public schools, the University of New Hampshire system, and repealed the New Hampshire Minimum Wage law.

Governor Hassan also talked about the importance of having access to quality healthcare and provide low income workers with healthcare through the Medicaid Expansion. “As of this week 20,000 Granite Staters now have healthcare thanks to the Medicaid Expansion,” said Hassan.

View Governor Hassan’s speech on YouTube.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster also talked about the Bill O’Brien House and her opponent Marilinda Garcia, who was one of the select few to be a part of  O’Brien’s leadership team.  Kuster talked about her work in Congress to help working families by pushing for expanded access to healthcare, raising the minimum wage and passing a national Paycheck Fairness law.  Kuster noted that while she supports legislation that would help working women, her opponent, wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, opposes raising the minimum wage, and paycheck fairness is unneeded legislation.

Garcia also wants to abolish the Department of Education that would virtually eliminate the federal student loan program, even though Garcia currently owes tens of thousands of dollars in Sallie Mae student loans.

View Rep. Annie Kuster’s speech on YouTube.

Laura Hainey, President of AFT-NH organized the event and spent a couple of minutes talking about working to ensure that Speaker Bill O’Brien does not regain power in Concord.  As President of AFT-NH, Hainey knows first hand the devastation that another O’Brien legislature would do to the public schools system in New Hampshire.

View Laura Hainey’s speech on YouTube.

Senator Shaheen was unable to attend the event due to a scheduling conflict — she was in Northern New Hampshire campaigning with Sen. Elizabeth Warren — her daughter Stacy gave a short speech on her behalf.  Stacy Shaheen talked about how hard her mother is working for the people of New Hampshire. “My mom is a workhorse,” said Shaheen.  “She has been working for the people of New Hampshire for a long time.”

Working families in New Hampshire need more representatives like this strong, women leaders.

Talk to your friends, neighbors and family members about how important this election is and then encourage them to vote on Nov. 4th.

New Hampshire Working Women Speak Out AFT Pres. Randi Weingarten and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler (OCT-24th)

New Hampshire Working Women Speak Out

As we head into the final days of this crucial election campaign, the New Hampshire AFL-CIO is privileged to have the opportunity to have two of the highest ranking women officers in the labor movement visiting Nashua, this Friday, October 24th.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler will participate in our New Hampshire “Working Women Speak Out” event to discuss the importance of women in this election, what’s at stake and issues that impact women’s lives such as equal pay for equal work, raising wages, education and paid sick time.

When: Friday, October 24, 2014 from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

Where: Elks Lodge 720, 120 Daniel Webster Highway, Nashua, NH 03062

We have invited and hoped to be joined by Senator Shaheen, Governor Hassan and Congresswoman Kuster.

Please RSVP with the New Hampshire AFL-CIO at 603-623-7302 or you can sign up by CLICKING HERE

In Solidarity,

Laura Hainey
AFT-NH President

New Hampshire AFL-CIO Calls For Minimum Wage Hike As Part Of 2014 Legislative Agenda

CONCORD – AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler joined New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie and progressive legislators in laying out the New Hampshire labor movement’s priorities for the 2014 legislative session.

This year, we are calling on our legislature to lift up working families and lift up New Hampshire,” said New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie.

“By raising the minimum wage, establishing prevailing wages, paying men and women equal wages, and making sure that temporary workers, construction workers, and those paid by payroll card aren’t cheated out of their pay, we can ensure that every worker in New Hampshire takes home what they have rightfully earned and can support their families on their wages.”

Raising the minimum wage would help small businesses, President MacKenzie stated, citing a poll by the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute released last year that found that a majority of small business owners, 67 percent, would back an effort to increase the minimum wage above the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour and to adjust it annually for inflation.

The plight of low-wage workers is in the spotlight like never before, Secretary-Treasurer Shuler said in her remarks. After a year marked by nationwide walk-outs at Walmart and strikes by fast food workers, workers in thirteen states saw increases in the minimum wage on January 1st of this year. Worker-based coalitions in eight other states are mounting ballot initiatives or legislative campaigns to raise the minimum wage.

Work in this country should be valued, rewarded, and respected,” said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler. “It is not a question of whether we can afford to reward hard work – we can’t afford not to. Income inequality is greater today than it’s been since the Great Depression. The rich have never been richer, while the middle class is falling further and further behind. Working people have to do better than that – and we can, starting with a proactive push to raise the minimum wage and pass a working family agenda in Concord.”

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO announced that it will be pursuing the following legislative priorities in 2014:

  • Minimum Wage Increase to $9/hour (HB 1174)Raises the state minimum wage to $8.25 an hour in January 2015; raises the state minimum wage to $9.00 an hour in January 2016 and thereafter raises the minimum wage annually based on increases in the Consumer Price Index.
  • Paycheck Fairness (HB 1188, SB 207)Defines the conditions in which employers may legitimately pay differential wages to men and women who perform equal work; prohibits employers from barring an employee from disclosing information about his or her wages, salary and paid benefits as a condition or employment; prohibits retaliation against an employee who discloses the amount of his or her wages.
  • Temporary Workers Rights (HB 1189)Increases transparency concerning employment conditions and compensation for temporary workers procured for worksite employers through a temporary staffing company; establishes record keeping and reporting requirements for temporary staffing companies; defines allowable fees charged to temporary workers by the staffing company in relation to employment; addresses workers compensation coverage requirements.
  • Personal Credit History Privacy (HB 1405, SB 295)Prohibits employers from requesting a personal credit history check as a condition of employment, with some exceptions for positions that involve substantive responsibility for managing business funds.
  • Payment by Payroll Card (HB 1404)Defines disclosure requirements and employer reporting obligations for payment of wages by payroll card; limits fees that can be charged to an employee for using his or her payroll card account.
  • Social Media Privacy (HB1407)Prohibits employers from requiring access to private social media account or other online communication accounts as a condition of employment. Does not prevent employers from monitoring or requesting access to business accounts.
  • State Prevailing Wage Law (HB 1592)New Hampshire is the only state in the Northeast without a current prevailing wage statute for state-funded public works projects. This bill aims to replace and modernize the NH prevailing wage law repealed in 1985 but limits covered projects to those funded only or substantially by state funds.
  • Certified Payroll Reporting Requirement (HB 1576)Requires contractors on state-funded construction projects to file certified payroll reports that include worker classifications and rates of pay with the government agency responsible for project administration.

The NH AFL-CIO Holds Bi-Annual Convention

On May 4th, the New Hampshire state federation of the AFL-CIO held their bi-annual convention at the Grand Hotel in North Conway, NH.  The event was attended by over 50 delegates, representing many different unions from around the state.  They were teachers from AFT, to film and sound techs from IATSE,  electricians from IBEW, to air traffic controllers from NATCA.  The focus of the convention was to talk about the great things that the NH AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions have done in New Hampshire over the last two years. And to talk about how we need to change and grow to move into a new generation of unions and organizing.

Over the past two years the NH AFL-CIO and organized labor have fought back against the extreme right wing of the New Hampshire Legislature who were pushing every anti-union and anti-worker bill they could dig up from ALEC.  Most notably was the nearly two year battle over Right To Work.  Upholding Governor Lynch’s veto was the single greatest legislative accomplishment for the NH AFL-CIO and all working families.

AFLCIO Convention Mark MacKenzieAfter a short trip down memory lane by NH AFL-CIO President Mark MacKenzie, the tone shifted.  “At no time has labor’s role been more important” said President MacKenzie.

Now we as organized labor need to work with our communities for real immigration reform.  We must ensure that every worker is treated fairly, is paid accordingly, and has the protections we fought so hard to get in place.

This theme also lead right into how do we begin to organize those places that have never been able to be organized before?  Places like Wal-Mart, Fast Food and Restaurant workers. These are the jobs that need help from organized labor the most right now.

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler spent  most of her time talking about how we need to fight back against the attacks from the right wing extremists and expand our base.  This is a battle for all working people, not just those who are covered by a union contract.  We need to do everything we can to stop the austerity budget plans from Washington that are slowly pulling our country apart.  The Tea Party lead House is trying to continue this race to the bottom with more cuts to programs like Head Start and Meals on Wheels.  “What about the children who have been kicked out of Head Start due to the Sequester” said Shuler.  “Sequester is just a fancy word for stupid idea” Shuler continued.

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter knows all to well how the sequester is effecting people.  She hears about it every day.  People calling her office to get her to do something about it.  “Can’t you just pass something to end the sequester” people would ask.  Yes, she told the crowd, if we could get our bills onto the floor of the US House.  Congresswoman Shea-Porter told the crowd, “there are three political parties in Washington right now.  The Democrats, the Republicans and the Republican study group also know as the Tea Party.”  The power of the Tea Party and their leader, Speaker John Boehner is what is creating this disfunction in Washington.

The NH AFL-CIO also welcomed State Senator Andrew Hosmer to speak. He talked of the current situation in the NH Senate.  He pushed for the passage of the expanded gambling bill to help create new jobs for the NH Building Trades.   That message was echoed by State Representative (and former AFGE member and Federal Marshal) Steve Shurtleff.  Rep Shurtleff reminded us how times have changed now that Speaker O’Brien is not in control.  He ws there every session waiting for the Speaker to pull Right To Work up for a vote.  Both Sen. Hosmer and Rep Shurtleff said they would do whatever was needed to stand up for working families and the workers rights to organize.

(More in-depth stories on each of the speeches at the NH AFLCIO convention later this week)

Canvassing With AFL-CIO Sec-Tres Liz Shuler


AFL-CIO Sec Liz Shuler and NHLN Blogger Matt Murray

Brothers and sisters,

A very special guest will be joining us for our Labor Walk on the Seacoast next Sunday. Liz Shuler, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, will knock on doors with us in Sunday’s “Walk for Working Families”.

Secretary-Treasurer Shuler knows more than anyone how important elections are for working families. She knows this election will determine whether we have collective bargaining in New Hampshire, which has brought so many Granite State families into the middle class, and she knows that you can’t raise a family unless you can earn a living wage. Can you join Liz this weekend in walking for New Hampshire families?

Walk for Working Families


155 West Road, Portsmouth

Sunday, October 21st, 1-4 p.m.

Click here to sign up.

Liz Shuler understands that real change happens when we have real conversations about how to build better and happier families. She’s spent the last few years mobilizing young workers – and now young worker groups across the country are helping turn the tide in states like Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. She is changing the conversation around what’s important in this election, by getting women to host house parties to talk with their friends, daughters and mothers about why they vote.

You can start the conversation with your own family and friends – bring them to our walk on Sunday and prepare to be fired up by Liz about what these walks mean for Granite Staters. If you can’t make it on Sunday, don’t worry – we have another walk on Saturday in Nashua.


Nashua Labor to Labor walk

Nashua Teachers Union Hall

7C Taggart Drive, Nashua, NH

Saturday, October 20th, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Click here to sign up.


In solidarity,

the New Hampshire AFL-CIO

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler Asks “ARE YOU READY”

Sept 3 2012,


AFL-CIO Sec Liz Shuler and NHLN Blogger Matt Murray

The New Hampshire AFL-CIO hosted their annual Labor Day Breakfast at the St George Greek Orthodox Church in Manchester.  The event focused on turning the page on the anti-worker agenda and working to elect candidates who support labor.

This message could not be more true here in New Hampshire.  With a tyrannical leader in the NH House, and anti-worker Representatives in Congress.   This message was echoed by the AFL-CIO national Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler.

“It is good to be with people who appreciate what Labor Day is what it is ment to be,  to appreciate work, to appreciate who really builds it” said Shuler. “We thank you for everything you do”.

Shuler’s message was clear.  We need everyone to help spread the message. “Labor Day is the unofficial start….when we lace up our walking shoes and begin to canvass our neighborhoods” said Shuler.

Shuler also thank the people of NH who have fighting this anti-worker regiem for nearly two years now.  Shuler said “I love you and appreciate you for what  you have been doing”.   However the fight is not over.

Shuler continued by talking about the upcoming Governor elections.  She talked about “NOvide (NO-Vide)” which has been a common way for people to say “No Ovide”.  And it does not stop with the Governor elections.

“This is the first year the Republican Platform has officially included Right To Work (for less)” stated Shuler.

The message was not all gloom and doom about the elections.  Shuler tossed in a little comedic jab by referring to Clint Eastwood.  Pointing at the empty chair next to her she said “I am glad he could join us today”.

Shuler’s rallying cry to “restore democracy” rang loud and true.  Her message was clear, if you do not like what is going on now, they you have the power to change it.  “Lace up those walking shoes” and get out there.  Talk to your neighbors, talk to your members, talk to anyone who will listen.  This is the most important election for labor in the last 75 years.

“ARE YOU READY” Shuler asked.  I am are you?

AFL-CIO Sec Liz Shuler’s entire speech, recorded from the crowd by NHLN Blogger Matt Murray. (view on YouTube http://youtu.be/qm3m1-wjmCE)

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