SEATTLE (Dec. 6, 2018) — Larry Brown, Legislative and Political Director of Machinists (IAM) District Council 751, has been elected President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, in results tallied, certified and announced Thursday by the WSLC Election Board. Brown narrowly defeated Lynne Dodson, the current WSLC Secretary Treasurer, by a 52.1 percent to 47.9 percent vote in the race to succeed WSLC President Jeff Johnson, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Widely considered to be the “voice of labor” in Washington state, the WSLC has more than 600 affiliated local unions and organizations, representing some 450,000 rank-and-file union members, making it the largest union organization in Washington. Brown and Sims will begin their terms on Jan. 5, 2019.
Brown joined the IAM in 1983 as an inspector at Boeing, after serving in the U.S. Navy from 1973-1977. He joined the District 751 staff in 1997 and has served as a Business Representative and in his current position as Political Director. Brown helped establish the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee and has served on the Board of Trustees for Green River College from 1998-2011 and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges from 2011-present. In 2017, he was also elected to serve on the Auburn City Council.
April Sims, currently the WSLC Political and Strategic Campaign Director, has been elected WSLC Secretary Treasurer, the chief financial officer of the organization. She is the first woman of color to be elected as a WSLC executive officer.
Prior to joining the WSLC staff, Sims served as the Legislative and Political Action Field Coordinator for the Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE), where she was responsible for member education, communication, and mobilization around legislative issues and political campaigns. She was a WFSE member, shop steward, elected union officer, and union staffer from 2002-15.
Upon certification of Thursday’s election results, Brown released the following statement:
“Thank you to the labor leaders for putting your trust in me to lead the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO — the voice of all of Washington’s workers. Thank you for believing in a vision for a labor movement that brings together workers to solve our most pressing challenges, to organize new workers, and to incorporate social justice into the everyday work of our unions. I very much look forward to working with Secretary Treasurer Elect April Sims to continue to build a strong vibrant labor movement in our state.
“Congratulations to Lynne Dodson for her hard-fought campaign, but most of all, for her legacy as a fierce labor leader and a social justice warrior. Thank you for always fighting for what you thought was right.
“And finally, I want to thank our outgoing president, Jeff Johnson, for his leadership and unrelenting passion for our movement. Thank you, Jeff.”
Sims released the following statement Thursday:
“I want to thank the affiliates of the WSLC for their trust in me to lead and to continue building a stronger labor movement in Washington state. Thank you to the outgoing leadership of the WSLC, President Jeff Johnson and Secretary Treasurer Lynne Dodson, for their years of service to the Council, their unwavering support of me, and their conviction to fight for justice for all working people. I have no doubt that working together over the next four years with President Elect Larry Brown, the Washington state labor movement will continue to grow good jobs and improve the living standards for all Washingtonians, to fight for social justice for all working people, and to build independent political power for all working families of Washington state. With labor under attack nationally, this collaborative work between President Elect Larry Brown and myself is all the more important; together, we will continue to strengthen and defend union power.
“I will fight on the frontlines every day as Secretary Treasurer of the WSLC to make sure working people have a better life, not only for themselves but for their children and their children’s children.”
Dodson issued the following statement Thursday:
“I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to serve with Jeff Johnson for the past eight years. His great leadership will be missed. The labor movement, the state, and the world are better because of his service on behalf of working people. Washington’s unions are the most organized force for good in the state, and I know that this work will continue under the leadership of President Elect Larry Brown and Secretary Treasurer Elect April Sims.
“The labor movement will continue to face challenges in the coming years. Larry and April will need your support — no officers do this work alone. Your commitment to fighting for good, living wage jobs for all, to continuing the fight for economic, racial and social justice, and to addressing climate change — it’s your continued work with the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO that will bring power to working people.
“It’s been an honor to serve as the Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO for the past eight years. Thank you for making this the best state labor council in the nation!”
In addition to the races for the WSLC’s two executive offices, the council’s Election Board on Thursday certified the results of elections for the following WSLC Vice Presidents elected by district and to represent the interests of AFL-CIO-affiliated constituency groups and allied organizations.
First District (5)
Todd Crosby, UFCW 21
Karen Strickland, AFT 1789
Nicole Grant, IBEW 46
Jon Holden, IAM 751
John Scearcy, IBT 117
Second District (3)*
Debbie Gath, IBT 38
Mark Riker, SMW 66
Third District (3)
Steven Segall, WFSE 443
Shannon Walker, IAM W536
Bob Guenther, IBEW 77
Fourth District (3)
Eric Thrift, LIUNA 348
Paul Parmley, IBT
Rigo Rivas, LIUNA 348
Fifth District (3)*
Tina Morrison, AFM 105
James Tieken, AFSCME 270
Sixth District (3)*
Vance Lelli, ILWU 23 / AFM 76-493
Patty Rose, IBEW 76
A. Phillip Randolph Institute: Gabriel Prawl, CWA/Washtech
Alliance for Retired Americas: Jackie Boschok, Wash. State ARA
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance: Ligaya Domingo, SEIU 1199NW
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists: Kevin Allen, WFSE 843
Coalition of Labor Union Women: Jacquie Jones Walsh, WFSE Council 28
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement: Jose Rosado, ATU 587
Pride at Work: Michael Andrew, UAW 1981
WA Young Emerging Labor Leaders: Shaunie Wheeler, IBT JC 28
* In districts where fewer than the allotted number of Vice Presidents were elected, the executive board will interview and appoint Vice Presidents to fill those seats.
Per the WSLC Constitution, the election winners will begin four-year terms as WSLC officers on Jan. 5, 2019.
Additionally, at-large Vice Presidents will be appointed to represent the interests of any international union paying per capita on 10,000 or more members that does not have an elected Vice President.
The WSLC President, Secretary Treasurer and all Vice Presidents together comprise the WSLC Executive Board, which meets quarterly and establishes the WSLC’s policies and priorities of the council between conventions. For more information about the duties and responsibilities of the WSLC executive officers and board, see Article’s VI through VIII of the WSLC Constitution.