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The AFL-CIO Executive Council today elected Liz Shuler, a visionary leader and longtime trade unionist, to serve as president of the federation of 56 unions and 12.5 million members. Shuler is the first woman to hold the office in the history of the labor federation. The Executive Council also elected United Steelworkers (USW) International Vice President Fred Redmond to succeed Shuler as secretary-treasurer, the first African American to hold the number two office. Tefere Gebre will continue as executive vice president, rounding out the most diverse team of officers ever to lead the AFL-CIO.

Our brother and leader Richard Trumka passed away on August 5, 2021, at the age of 72.

The executive council of the AFL-CIO held a special meeting last week to name their next leader, following the death of the labor federation’s longtime president, Richard Trumka. For the first time in the organization’s history, they chose a woman. Liz Shuler, 51, had served as the federation’s second-in-command under Trumka since they were elected together in 2009. Despite the sad and unusual circumstances of the succession ― Trumka died on Aug.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to proceed with President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget resolution, along with the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The Build Back Better agenda contains many of the labor movement’s priorities, including growing Medicare, expanding sick leave and child care, increasing investments in education and combating climate change. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act will expand voting rights across the country.

The first woman to lead the biggest U.S. labor federation wants even more women as decision-makers in a labor movement that is becoming less male and less white.

NPR's Michel Martin speaks with Liz Shuler, the newly elected president of the AFL-CIO, about her goals for the organization and the future of the labor movement.

Listen to the segment on NPR.

Newly elected AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler discusses the future of the labor movement.

Watch the segment on Bloomberg.

The world lost a tireless fighter for working people on Aug. 5, when AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka passed away. At the RWDSU, we often saw first-hand the dedication of a man who was willing to go toe to toe with anybody if it meant defending the rights of working people and creating a fairer and more equitable society where all of us have our voices heard, not just the wealthiest and most powerful. 

On the morning of August 5, the nation, the American labor movement, and workers across the globe were rocked by the sudden, unexpected loss of a great man, an incredible leader, and a lifetime fighter for justice, AFL-CIO President Richard Louis Trumka, or “it’s just Rich” as he would so often correct anyone opting for the more formal greeting. 

In April 2020, after the labor market took its largest one-month hit in modern history, Black men and women suffered job losses proportionate to those of white women. Still, their losses were far less severe than those of Hispanic men and women. Black workers already had higher unemployment rates, as has always been the case, but their unemployment rates did not skyrocket as much as other groups.