Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO.
Courtesy of the AFL-CIO
Liz Shuler made history as the AFL-CIO’s first female president 100 days ago.
The head of the largest labor union has overseen sky-high approval ratings and thousands on strike.
Insider spoke to Shuler about her goal to organize like never before and seize upon this enthusiasm.
When Liz Shuler rides on an airplane, she often has an experience that will be familiar to most travelers: Her seat mate asks, “What do you do?”
Five years ago, after saying she worked for a labor union, Shuler said, most people would put their noses back in their books. Today, she’s met with reactions like “awesome” and “amazing.”
“There’s a genuine excitement out there,” Shuler said.
It’s not just airplane riders who are excited. More than 100,000 American workers at companies like John Deere and Kellogg’s voted to authorize strikes in October and November to demand better pay and working conditions.
Despite decades of declining membership, labor unions are enjoying their highest approval ratings among Americans since 1965, as well as support from President Biden who said he intends “to be the most pro-union president, leading the most pro-union administration in American history.” As corporations raked in record profits this year, workers have started to again use their collective power to lift standards for entire communities and demand that they reap some of that financial windfall.
Shuler is at the forefront of the change, as the first female president of the country’s largest labor federation, the AFL-CIO, which works with 12.5 million members at 57 unions, including the unions representing strikers at Deere and Kellogg’s. She’s not considering 2021 a victory, but just the start: “If we’re not looking through the lens of how to grow our movement, we’re really missing the point.”
President Joe Biden greets AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler during an event held in honor of labor unions in the East Room at the White House, September 8, 2021
Shuler made history as the first woman to helm the federation after being elected in August when longtime leader Richard Trumka unexpectedly passed away. She is set to fill the role until August 2022, and told Politico she plans to run for reelection then. Now, as she approaches her 100th day in office, Shuler is focused on turning this “pivotal moment” of potential into lasting change.
“That’s my hope — if we look back …read more
Source:: Business Insider