Liz Shuler is the secretary-treasurer/chief financial officer of the AFL-CIO, one of three top-level officers for the federation and the first-ever woman elected to the position. Coming from Portland, Ore., Liz has been at the forefront of such progressive labor initiatives as green jobs programs and the fight for workers’ rights for many years, starting as a political activist and an organizer at the local union level. Prior to her election as secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, Liz worked her way up through the ranks of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), from Local Union 125 in Portland to the executive leadership at the international headquarters in Washington, D.C. Today, as chief financial officer of the federation, Liz chairs the AFL-CIO Executive Council Committee on Finance, oversees the federation’s internal operations and leads the federation’s young worker and women’s initiatives and its repositioning efforts. Liz also represents the AFL-CIO on various boards and committees, such as the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust and the Women’s Committee of the International Trade Union Confederation.
Liz Shuler is the secretary-treasurer/chief financial officer of the AFL-CIO, one of three top-level officers for the federation and the first-ever woman elected to the position. Coming from Portland, Ore., Liz has been at the forefront of such progressi
Blog Post List
Childcare & Early Education Paid Family Leave Paid Sick Days Politics & Policy Realistic & Fair Wages
May 2, 2017
Ivanka Trump is set to release her new book today — Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success . Earlier this year, we were happy to welcome Ivanka to the federal government where hundreds of thousands of union members tirelessly serve our country each and every day. As a senior adviser to her father, Ivanka is in a position of great power—one we hope she uses to honor her campaign promises. Moving President Trump in the right direction is most important to the AFL-CIO and the over 6 million working women of the labor movement—more than the words in any book. While Donald Trump ran a...
January 29, 2016
It took Lilly Ledbetter over two decades to discover her wages were being docked at work because of her gender. Even then, Lilly only discovered she wasn’t being paid equally thanks to an anonymous note slipped to her by a well-intentioned co-worker. As we celebrate the seventh anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the progress that has been made in securing equal pay, we must also remember the millions of women who are still impacted by disparate pay policies. Not every working woman will be lucky enough to receive an informative note and far too many women are still being...
Childcare & Early Education Families & The Federal Budget Family Economic Security Health Care Paid Family Leave Paid Sick Days Politics & Policy Realistic & Fair Wages
October 26, 2015
Tomorrow I will be giving a speech about the state of working women. The event, which is sponsored by the National Women's Law Center, takes a look at both the progress we have made and what is left to be done to ensure women have equality in the workplace and our daily lives. Here are some excerpts in advance: Even as we celebrate the advancement of women in work, the harsh reality is too many of us continue to struggle when we shouldn’t have to. Sheryl Sandberg asked us to “lean in.” But most working women are already leaning in so hard we are practically falling over. We are being forced...
August 26, 2015
* Co-authored by Page Gardner, Founder and President of the Voter Participation Center Today we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, a day that commemorates the 19th amendment being ratified granting millions of women the right to vote. In the 95 years since, women have used their votes to better their lives, strengthen their families and protect their communities. But women have yet to maximize their power at the polls – about a third of all U.S. women and close to 40 percent of unmarried women are not registered to vote -- or in the workplace. The labor movement provides nearly seven million...
August 13, 2015
For months we’ve heard that the economy is finally moving in the right direction, except for one hitch: working people’s wages, particularly those of women, are not going up. One big reason: for years, millions of workers have clocked in more and more hours without ever seeing an extra cent in their paycheck. That’s wrong. Too many workers, most of whom are women, are watching their finances be stretched to the limit because even though they work overtime, they are not compensated for the work they do. Working women deserve better. The Department of Labor and President Obama have taken the...
April 30, 2015
Earlier this month, the CEO of Reddit, Ellen Pao, announced the company would no longer allow employees to negotiate their salaries. Pao explained the move was an attempt to close the pay gap between women and men since, based on her experience, women are worse negotiators than men and as she put it, “From what I’ve heard from women, they …feel like there’s no way to win.” Pao’s claim that some women lose out at the negotiating table is correct. And her instinct to take action and use her power as CEO to level the playing field is admirable. But her response misses the point of what’s really...
April 14, 2015
Working women are shorted 23 cents for every dollar a man makes. On its own, 23 cents doesn’t sound like much. Sure it’s wrong that women still are paid only 77 cents on the man’s dollar. But what can 23 cents buy? How about a nice house? A private college education for four kids? Twelve brand new Mustang convertibles? Forty-three years of food for a family of four? Over 40 years of work, a typical woman working full time would lose a mind-blowing$ 463,320 to the pay gap. Today is Equal Pay Day—a woman would have to have worked work until April 14 to get a full year’s worth of a man’s 2014...
April 2, 2015
With National Women’s History Month behind us now, it’s still important to celebrate the great strides women have made over the past decades. It is equally important to remember how many women workers still don’t have the basic necessities they need to support themselves and their families. The labor movement views the struggle for women’s equality as a shared fight, especially considering women are the sole or primary breadwinners for 40% of families in the United States. Women of color in particular have a hard time getting good pay and benefits and they make up a disproportionate share of...
February 5, 2015
Join us in wishing the Family and Medical Leave Act a happy 22nd anniversary! In this brief video , Carmen Berkley, director of the AFL-CIO Office of Civil, Human and Women's Rights, tells us why the FMLA is important and stresses the need for an additional paid sick leave law. Next week, the Senate will take up a bill introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) to allow millions of workers to earn up to seven days a year of paid sick time they could use to care for themselves or a family member. Similar bills are being introduced by state lawmakers all across...
January 27, 2015
More than 100 years ago, after Upton Sinclair worked undercover in Chicago meatpacking plants, he revealed the abuse and exploitation of immigrant workers in the industry—including the tragic story of a worker who fell into a rendering tank. Public reaction to his great book, “ The Jungle ,” forced federal measures to make food safer—but not workers safer. There shouldn’t be any separation between good food and good jobs, because working conditions in the food system are everyone else’s eating conditions. Unions represent workers throughout the food system—farm workers, meat cutters, poultry...
Families & The Federal Budget Family Economic Security Paid Family Leave Paid Sick Days Politics & Policy
January 6, 2015
We’ve heard for months that the economy is improving, except for one stubborn problem: workers’ wages aren’t rising the way they should be in a recovery. Productivity goes up, corporate profits go up, CEO pay goes way up—but most working people’s paychecks are stuck. What we haven’t heard as much about is how we can raise wages. The economy is not like the weather—it doesn’t just happen to us, and we don’t have to just sit and wait for it to get better. The leaders we elect make the policy decisions that can fix the economy. Now it’s our job to put enough pressure on them until they actually do.
December 10, 2014
For a lot of working people, this holiday season will be one of belt-tightening rather than shopping sprees. Let’s face it, our wages just aren’t keeping up the way they used to. Here’s a fact: Average income for the least rich 90% of us has been flat since the 1970s, although people are working more hours. Not a recipe for a holiday-buying bonanza. The answer isn’t to cut back even more, it’s to raise wages. One sure way to put more money in consumers’ pockets and place upward pressure on pay is by raising the minimum wage—a sorely needed move that is stymied in Congress, although 20 states...
November 24, 2014
Walmart. On one hand we have the Walton family—Walmart’s owners. With almost $150 billion in wealth, they are the richest family in the nation. On the other hand, we have Walmart workers, most of whom work for less than $25,000 a year. Most are women. And this Thanksgiving, more than 1 million of them have to go to work instead of spending the full day with their families.
November 19, 2014
For a long time, we’ve assumed there was one path to success for America’s kids: College prep courses in high school followed by four or more years of a college education. But that formula leaves a lot of people out...
Families & The Federal Budget Family Economic Security Health Care MomsVote Paid Sick Days Politics & Policy
October 30, 2014
The other day I read a statistic that made me laugh a little. It said women’s issues are shaping up as the second-biggest issue among voters this year, behind only the economy. Really? I don’t think so. We are the economy. Women’s issues, family issues, are economic issues. And, as we know every single day, economic issues are women’s issues. That’s why this election is so important to us. And why we’re so important in this election. In a few days, we’ll have the opportunity to determine what kind of economy we will have—what kind of future—by electing leaders who will work for all of us. In...
Families & The Federal Budget Family Economic Security Food! Health Care MomsVote Paid Family Leave Paid Sick Days Politics & Policy
October 14, 2014
We’re just a few weeks away from an incredibly important election. The votes people cast Nov. 4 will shape our future and our children’s. I’m sure you are planning to vote, but maybe you know people who are on the fence—who think elections in non-presidential years just aren’t that important. Not true! Here are 11 great reasons you can share with them to get them to the polls: 11. Bad politicians aren’t just elected by people who vote for them. They’re also elected by people who don’t vote at all. Don’t help elect politicians who work against your interests. 10. You can elect leaders who will...
September 24, 2014
Well, they did it again. Senate Republican leaders last week blocked Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) bill that would let students refinance their college loans. It’s not the first time. They also did it in June. Don’t they understand that student loan debt is an emergency? It totals $1.2 trillion—and yes, that’s with a “T.” Sen. Warren’s bill would help 25 million student loan borrowers, saving them each an average of $2,000. It would help them, if not for the Republican leaders’ refusal to allow a vote on the bill. Once again, the Republicans are choosing to protect their millionaire and...
September 8, 2014
You’ve heard of the Koch Brothers, the ultra-rich, corporate extremists whose deep pockets are flooding election-season airwaves. Too often, their goals are part of a political playbook to drive down wages, cut Social Security and Medicare and secure more corporate tax breaks at the expense of our environment. Their money may dominate American politics and law-making, but their values and ideals sure don’t. We have a better alternative. Meet The Koch Sisters , Karen and Joyce, who share the same last name but not the same values as the infamous Koch Brothers. They’re not related to David and...
August 29, 2014
This Labor Day, throughout the nation we will pause to recognize the incredible achievements of America’s working women and men. We will gather in communities to march in parades, host barbecues and celebrate the people who really make this country run. But we also should recognize that despite our sweat, our sacrifice and our innovation, too many families are struggling to get by. This hasn’t happened by chance. Increasing political and corporate attacks on working people have pushed wages down for decades . Good jobs have become harder to find. Unemployment remains too high. Large raises...
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