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González leaving WSLC to be ACLU-WA Legislative Director

SEATTLE (Jan. 4, 2019) — Eric González Alfaro, who has served as Legislative and Policy Director for the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO since January 2016, has announced he is resigning his WSLC position to become Legislative Director of the ACLU of Washington. ACLU-WA is the state affiliate of the nation’s premier civil rights and civil liberties organization, which works to ensure justice, freedom and equality are realities for all people in Washington state, with particular attention to the rights of people and groups who have historically been disenfranchised.

“Being able to represent the Washington State Labor Council to advocate for workers’ rights – economic and social – has been an absolute privilege,” González said. “Carving spaces for community and marginalized groups to work with labor is something that I prioritized – to build movements, to build power, and strengthen solidarity, not just when we find it appealing or necessary, but rather as a matter of integrity.”

González, WSLC Legislative Intern Graciela Nuñez Pargas, and Rep. Drew Hanson (D-Bainbridge Island) celebrate the 2018 passage of HB 1488, known as the “Dream Act 2.0,” which changed the residency requirements for students to be eligible for in-state college tuition grants.

In addition to being the WSLC’s point person on a number of workers’ rights issues, González has helped lead the council’s efforts on health care, education, civil rights, immigrant rights, voting justice, strategies to end mass incarceration, and anti-poverty policies.

“While I am sorry to see Eric leave the WSLC, I am thrilled that he has the opportunity to expand his work on civil rights and civil liberties as the Legislative Director of ACLU-WA,” said WSLC President Jeff Johnson. “I hired Eric in 2016, not because of his knowledge of union issues, but because of his passion for helping those most in need, those who have been forced to live at the margins of our society. Eric brought a sense of morality, humility, and dignity to his work with the WSLC that has opened doors for labor in the wider community. He has been a valiant warrior for giving voice to those who have historically been marginalized. His leadership and gentleness will be missed at the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO and by me. I am proud to be a colleague and a friend of Eric’s.”

González has served on the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s Fraud Prevention Advisory Board, Dept. of Labor and Industries Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA) Advisory Board, and as chairperson to the Healthy Washington Coalition, Farm Worker Coalition and the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network’s Policy subcommittee. In his spare time, González volunteers his time on the boards of the Northwest Health Law Advocates, Unemployment Law Project, and Washington Community Action Network (Washington CAN).

González joined volunteer canvassers for the NO on Prop A campaign against Missouri’s so-called “right-to-work” legislation in July 2018.

Prior to joining the WSLC, González was staff lobbyist for Washington’s largest immigrant and refugee rights organization, OneAmerica. There he worked to help close the education opportunity gap, protect voting rights, and defend vulnerable working families from the deregulation of predatory payday lending in our state. He has also been director of the Equal Justice Coalition, a non-partisan grassroots organization working to increase federal, state, and local funding for Washington state civil legal aid programs.

A first generation Mexican-American and first generation college graduate, his parents are former migrant farmworkers who continue to rely on apple industry jobs for their livelihood. He was raised on an orchard a few miles outside East Wenatchee, where he grew up surrounded by farm laborers and their stories of struggle — many of which mirrored those his father endured in the 1970s traveling job to job in Central Valley, California to the Yakima and Wenatchee Valleys. His upbringing is why he’s dedicated his professional career to promoting social and economic justice, and to pursuing a lifelong goal: giving a voice to those in need.

“While I may be leaving the WSLC, my commitment to workers’ rights remain intrinsically aligned with my desire to fight for those with little to no resources, to stretch the boundaries of hope, and to pull the moral arc of the universe a little closer to justice,” González said. “Together, we will continue to fight to reshape and realign the notion, that promise, of the American Dream.”

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