In December of 2016, the Executive Board of the West Virginia AFL-CIO unanimously chose Joshua Sword to serve as President, beginning on January 1, 2017, following the retirement of longtime leader Kenny Perdue.
Sword had served as Secretary-Treasurer of the WV AFL-CIO since January 1, 2013, managing the group’s financial accounts and actively participating in political and legislative processes on behalf of its members.
In addition to his duties at the WV AFL-CIO, Sword is a member of the PEIA Finance Board and serves on the board of the United Food Operation and is now President for two arms of the WV AFL-CIO, HRDE, a non-profit organization that provides low-income housing for West Virginia’s seniors and disabled, and HRDF, a non-profit organization that provides tools for disadvantaged individuals to succeed in the workplace.
Prior to joining the leadership of the WV AFL-CIO, Sword worked for the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, from 1999 to 2012. He began his 13-year career with the AFT-WV as benefits coordinator and eventually transitioned to political director. During his tenure, Sword helped develop and coordinate a campaign that allowed for 15,000 teachers and service personnel to transfer from a defined contribution plan to a defined benefit retirement plan, essentially guaranteeing those educators a pension upon retirement.
During his stint at AFT-WV, Sword was a member of CWA, local 2001. As President, he is a member of LIUNA (Laborers’) local 1353.
Sword believes that working families deserve a voice in the workplace and that voice is critical to a prosperous middle class. Union roots run deep in his family; his father retired as a member of the elevator constructors’ union and his grandfather was a union ironworker.
The Charleston area native is a graduate of the University of Charleston, with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Sword is married to wife, Kelly, and they have two children.