AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka this morning announced his candidacy for president of the AFL-CIO to succeed the retiring John Sweeney. Trumka has served as AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer since 1995.
At a rally that drew several hundred supporters at the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C., Trumka also introduced his running mates. Joining Trumka on the ticket are Liz Shuler, executive assistant to the Electrical Workers, IBEW President Edwin Hill for secretary-treasurer and incumbent AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker for re-election. This marks the first time two women have run for the AFL-CIO’s top offices.
No other presidential candidate has announced. Earlier this year, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney announced he was retiring when his fourth term as president expires in September. Delegates to the AFL-CIO’s 26th Constitutional Convention meeting in Pittsburgh Sept. 13-17 will elect the AFL-CIO’s new officers.
In a joint statement, Trumka, Shuler and Holt Baker note that the labor movement “faces tremendous challenges,” including an unregulated global economy, labor laws that favor employers over workers and a political system in which the wealthy wield far too much influence.
At the same time, we have historic opportunity, with a president and Congress we elected, to overcome these challenges. Our most important task is to make sure our economy creates jobs. And we are keenly aware that we must look within our movement for answers about how we can create full employment, organize workers and make sure workers prosper in the 21st century.
Before being elected AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer in 1995, the same year Sweeney took the helm of the AFL-CIO, Trumka served as president of the Mine Workers ( UMWA) from 1982 to 1995. He is a third-generation coal miner and graduate of Pennsylvania State University and holds a law degree from Villanova University Law School.
Shuler is the highest-ranking women in the IBEW and has served as Hill’s top assistant since 2004. In 1993, she joined IBEW Local 125 in Portland, Ore., where she worked as an organizer and state legislative and political director. In 1998, she was part of the IBEW’s international staff in Washington, D.C., as a legislative and political representative.
Holt Baker has served as AFL-CIO executive vice president since September 2007. The longtime AFSCME member and leader came to the federation in 1995 as executive assistant to Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson, who was the first woman to become a top AFL-CIO officer. Holt Baker was AFSCME’s international union area director in California from the late 1980s to 1995 and also worked as an organizer and international representative.
Junemann has served as IFPTE president since 2003. He also served three terms as the union’s secretary-treasurer, IFPTE Midwest area vice president from 1986 to 1994 and president of IFPTE Local 92 in Milwaukee. At his website, Junemann states that
Coming from a decentralized, member-driven union, I am well aware of the gains that can be made by building the power of the local unions while reinforcing the strength that can be realized when differing sectors work in solidarity. That same model can work with our national federation as it sets its sights on building the power of its affiliates and reinforces the need for grassroots support across various fields of employment.