July 17, 2009 Volume 110 Number 14

Former Oregonian runs for AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer

Elizabeth (Liz) Shuler, a former lobbyist and communications director for IBEW Local 125 in Portland, is running for secretary-treasurer of the national AFL-CIO on a ticket with Richard Trumka, who is running for president, and Arlene Holt Baker, who is seeking re-election as executive vice president.

Trumka is currently secretary-treasurer of the labor federation. He hopes to succeed President John Sweeney, who is retiring.

Election of officers will take place at the 26th Constitutional Convention of the AFL-CIO Sept. 13-17 in Pittsburgh.

Gregory Junemann, president of International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, also is running for secretary-treasurer.

If successful, Shuler would be the highest ranking woman ever elected to an AFL-CIO leadership post — and also the youngest at age 39.

Shuler has served as executive assistant to IBEW President Edwin Hill since June 2004, where she oversees the work and budgeting of 11 departments, including utility, manufacturing, telecommunications, broadcasting and government, education, research, political/legislative affairs, human services, media and safety. The appointment made her one of the highest ranking women in IBEW’s history.

Prior to that, Shuler served as international representative in the IBEW’s Political/Legislative Affairs Department, where she lobbied on numerous issues and helped implement the IBEW’s political program.

A graduate of the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism, Shuler was a Democratic Party activist in college. She worked summer clerical jobs at Portland General Electric, where her father, Lance, was a lineman and member of IBEW Local 125, and her mother was an estimator in service and design.

Shuler was initiated into IBEW Local 125 in 1993, where she was the local’s political/legislative director under Business Manager Bill Miller until 1998. For several legislative sessions, she led the local’s effort at the State Capitol to prevent the passage of electricity deregulation in Oregon. She built successful coalitions with allied organizations, even against powerful interests such as Enron. During that time, she traveled across the local’s multi-state jurisdiction conducting Construction Organizing Membership Education and Training (COMET) and Membership Education and Mobilization for Organizing (MEMO) courses.

She served on the State of Oregon’s Management-Labor Advisory Committee on Workers’ Compensation and also was a delegate to the Northwest Oregon Central Labor Council.

In 1998, Shuler was assigned by then-International President J. J. Barry to coordinate the IBEW’s ground mobilization effort to battle the Proposition 226 “paycheck deception” campaign in California.

Later that year, she was appointed international representative and moved to Washington, D.C. In that job, she lobbied on issues such as energy and electricity, Davis-Bacon, health care, transportation, apprenticeship and training, unemployment and telecommunications.

Shuler is active with Women in the Trades and is a member of the board of the Women’s Campaign Fund, a bipartisan fundraising organization that aims to boost the number of women holding public office. For several years she has volunteered with the International Women’s Democracy Center, a mentoring program that encourages women to run for office and seek change in countries overseas.

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