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
August 12, 2014
A few weeks ago, President Obama convened a White House Summit on Working Families, an event attended by national leaders in business and labor. The event was designed to put the issues of working families under a national spotlight. I was proud to participate in this event, representing the AFL-CIO and millions of workers throughout the country, and I wrote at the time that collective action following the summit would be the true measure of the summit’s success. While the summit brought much-needed attention to urgent issues facing working families, we need real solutions to help us meet the...
July 7, 2014
I had the privilege to take part in the recent White House Summit on Working Families , and I wanted to share with you three points I shared with the 1,000 people who attended (about a quarter of whom were union members). The summit was in a prestigious ballroom in Washington, D.C. Many of the people in the room were high-powered business leaders interested in family-friendly workplace policies to help them recruit and retain the most sought-after workers in their fields. But I asked everyone to mentally draw a one-mile radius around the hotel and think about all the workers within it—...
June 18, 2014
Next week, people from all over the country will convene in Washington, D.C.—and many more will log in to participate virtually—at a White House Summit on Working Families. Under the banner of “creating a 21st century workplace that works for all Americans,” we’ll hear from businesses, economists, advocates, workers and, yes, labor leaders to discuss policy solutions that can make a difference in the lives of working families. It’s an important conversation and I look forward to seeing great examples of companies that give their employees meaningful benefits, fathers who take family leave...
June 10, 2014
Last week, moms who work at Walmart walked off the job across the country. Joined by co-workers and allies, they have been calling for respect and decent wages—at least $25,000 a year—and demanding an end to retaliation against employees who speak out for better working conditions. They also took their message to Walmart chairman and heir Rob Walton personally, and to the annual Walmart shareholders meeting. Walmart mom Evelin Cruz of the Pico Rivera, Calif., store said , “I’m striking for Barbara, for Tiffany and for other moms who Walmart has tried to silence. Our families cannot continue...
May 20, 2014
Today, the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hosts a roundtable discussion on economic security for working women (you can see the livestream starting at 2:30 p.m. and find the participants’ testimony at http://help.senate.gov ). Lori Pelletier, executive secretary-treasurer of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, is taking part in the roundtable and pointing out some of the reasons a union card is one of the best things a woman can have in her wallet—including better pay and benefits, family-friendly work policies and a strong and effective voice in enacting women’s legislative...
May 12, 2014
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and caregivers out there. I hope you were able to have one of those priceless “me days” that are so restorative. There’s one group of moms I hope you’ll think about this Mother’s Day week: immigrant mothers who are separated from their children through deportation or detention. Immigrants have moved to this country to make a better life for themselves and their families, seeking the promise of opportunity that America represents. But every day more than 1,000 people are deported, tearing apart immigrant families, even forcing 17 children a day into foster...
May 1, 2014
Sometimes you know in your heart you’re right, but having solid facts at your disposal helps make the case if you get challenged.
April 15, 2014
Equal Pay Day was last week—but really, we should be talking about this every day, not just on April 8. I love the AMC hit show “Mad Men.” But I don’t love Mad Men-era pay. You can’t smoke in the office any more, but you can still pay women less than men. If women were asked to work for free for three months of the year, it would be an outrage. But that’s essentially what happens to the average working woman, who is paid just 77 cents on the dollar of a man’s pay. That average woman didn’t see her full year of 2013 pay until April 8, 2014—Equal Pay Day. The Equal Pay Act has been federal law...
March 4, 2014
Good work, moms!: No one seems to know exactly what to thank for the 43% drop in obesity among 2- to 5-year-olds. Michelle Obama? Food stamp changes that make fruits and veggies more affordable for low-income families? I know who to thank: You…moms. Many factors probably contribute to this huge improvement, but the fact that kids are getting fewer sugar-packed drinks also points to you. “Free trade” comes to your kitchen: What does global trade have to do with what you feed your family? Plenty. International trade deals can limit the safety standards we require for imported food and how much...
February 20, 2014
Title IX deserves a gold: While we cheer for Team USA and the amazing girls and women in the Olympic Games, let’s also give a shout out to Title IX, the 1972 law that put sports within reach of girls in a whole new way by requiring gender equity in schools. And make some noise for American Sarah Hendrickson, who last week became the first woman ever to take an official ski jump at a Winter Games. Not equal yet: Meanwhile, a new survey finds employers are less likely to pay women than men during family leave—and women who are paid receive less. Just 27% percent of women were paid their full...
February 4, 2014
The State of the Union: I loved that the first words of President Obama’s State of the Union address last week were about “a teacher spending extra time with a student who needed it.” And how about his one-liner about coming out of the “Mad Men” era and finally fixing unequal pay and the lack of paid sick leave (I like “Mad Men” on TV, but not in the workplace!)? The president’s message about opportunity and working together is just what our families, kids and young people need. “If we work together,” he said, “…the America we want is within our reach.” Then he followed up his speech the...
January 21, 2014
First, let me introduce myself. I’m a top officer of the 12.5 million-member AFL-CIO , the federation of America’s unions. It surprises a lot of people to hear that 6.5 million women in this country are union members. MomsRising and the AFL-CIO have partnered together on tweet chats and other efforts around issues like paid sick days. And now I’ll be writing here every couple weeks on issues that are important to moms and families, sharing things I’ve been talking about with working women, reading and watching, and adding my two cents’ worth. This week I’m going to raise something everyone...
June 4, 2012
When Annie Bolgiano was growing up, her mother, a forest firefighter, told her daughter she could become anything she wanted. Then Annie went to college and learned another lesson : You can go into whatever profession you want, but you are statistically unlikely to make a salary equal to your male counterparts. Annie’s “uninhibited dreams for the future” collided with the reality that women in the United States make 77 cents to a man’s dollar, and in some professions, specifically high-paying careers , that disparity is much higher. Although nearly half of all workers in the United States are...
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