Elizabeth H. Shuler was elected president of the AFL-CIO by the AFL-CIO executive council on Aug. 20, 2021, after the unexpected and untimely passing of her predecessor, Richard Trumka. Shuler is the first woman to hold the office of president in the labor federation history, representing 56 unions and 12.5 million members.
In 2009, Shuler became the first woman elected to the position of secretary-treasurer at an AFL-CIO convention and the youngest woman ever on the federation’s executive council. As secretary-treasurer, she served as the chief financial officer, turning deficits into surpluses and steering the federation through multiple fiscal crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to her stewardship of the federation’s finances, she led the AFL-CIO’s initiatives on the future of work, retirement security, the clean energy economy, public safety reform, workforce development and empowering women and young workers.
After her election, Shuler said, “I believe in my bones that the labor movement is the single most powerful force for progress and that 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.”
Iron Workers General President Eric Dean offered support to Shuler on behalf of the officers and members of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers.
Dean stated, “The Iron Workers are honored to support Sister Liz Shuler on becoming the leader and force of the American labor movement. The loss of Brother Trumka at this pivotal time was tragic; his unending service will continue to inspire us all. The Iron Workers and the federation will fight for sustainable, safe jobs for all who work for a living.
“Sister Shuler is the right person at the right time, and she has our full support.”