Longtime labor and civil rights leader Yvonne Wheeler was unanimously elected Monday evening as president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, the first Black woman to oversee the organization with 300 affiliated unions and labor organizations representing more than 800,000 members.
Wheeler succeeds Ron Herrera, who resigned Oct. 10, one day after the release of a recorded conversation with three Los Angeles City Council members which included a series of racially charged remarks.
“I am honored to be elected to lead during such a critical time for workers,” Wheeler said. “In a post-COVID reality, we have to rebound, restabilize and reimagine from the perspective of workers to ensure we are on the right path, and that has to be our priority.”
Wheeler has held leadership roles with the A. Philip Randolph Institute, CWA, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, AFGE and IATSE over the last three decades.
Following her election, Wheeler called for the development of a strategic plan to serve as a roadmap for the federation and pledged to assess the organization and work closely with affiliates to make certain there are adequate resources to meet the needs of every member.
“Change is never easy,” Wheeler said. “But it is what we need right now. Our members, our communities rely on us, so we will fight to uplift their voices and build their power to make sure they are never put in this position again.”