WSLC President Jeff Johnson will not seek re-election

He will retire at year’s end after 32 years with the Labor Council


(June 13, 2018) — Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, released the following statement today:

Sisters and brothers, after 32 years of working for the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO in a staff position and as the lead officer, I have decided not to run for re-election and instead to retire at the end of this year. I have enjoyed almost every moment of this time working for the WSLC’s affiliated unions and building a more progressive and inclusive labor movement in our beautiful state.

I have had the great honor and privilege to work with affiliate leaders and community leaders to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in both the public and private sectors through the passage of historic operating, capital and transportation budgets; to protect and expand collective bargaining rights; to become the first state to index its minimum wage, to maintain the highest state minimum wage in the country, to have paid safe and sick leave, and to have the best paid family leave law in the country; to protect farm workers under minimum wage, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, child labor standards, pesticide protection laws, and medical monitoring; to have created one of the best workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance systems in the country; to have affiliated the first Worker Center, Casa Latina, with an AFL-CIO state federation; to have created a well-funded labor education infrastructure; to have been part of restoring labor’s history and culture to the movement; and to have helped create transformative community/labor partnerships in a movement for climate, racial, and economic and social justice.

We truly have a unique and extraordinary labor movement in Washington State. A movement rich in rank-and-file and elected leadership who are not afraid to push the edges of progressive reform. While sometimes change is frightening, giving real voice to workers and community partners on the future direction of our economy is more than worth it. We are union. We are community. We are one voice.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for the support, confidence, and friendship you have given me over the decades and for your support of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO and our labor movement.

I look forward to working with you over the next six months, but in the meantime I want to let you know that I fully support the team of Lynne Dodson and April Sims for the top two elected positions at the WSLC and recommend them to you. I believe that they have the values and vision to work with you to lead our movement to the next level.

Jeffrey G. Johnson was elected President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, in December 2010 after working for the WSLC since 1986 serving as special assistant to the president, lead lobbyist, research and organizing director, and as shop steward for the administrative staff unit. Jeff began his union life with Local 2190 of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO in 1979, teaching Labor Economics and Labor Studies at Empire State College, Center for Labor Studies, in New York City. As a labor educator Jeff taught in many union and community sponsored education programs in the New York area.

Jeff’s work at the Washington State Labor Council has focused on organizing, policy, and legislation that improves the lives of working people through increasing collective bargaining and organizing rights; economic justice and anti-poverty measures; strengthening workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance and employment standards; improving the health care system; and protecting the rights of farm workers and immigrant workers.

Jeff also represents the Washington labor movement by sitting on the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, the Washington State Apprenticeship Council, the Board of Washington Community Action Network, Co-Chair of the Washington State Blue Green Alliance, and the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy.

UPDATE (June 14, 2018)

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