April Sims and Cherika Carter have been elected President, Secretary Treasurer of Washington’s largest union organization
SEATTLE (Oct. 11, 2022) — The unions that comprise the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO have made history with their selection of a new leadership team of Black women for the state’s largest union organization. WSLC Secretary Treasurer April Sims will be the first woman and the first person of color to serve as President of the council, and WSLC Political and Strategic Campaigns Director Cherika Carter will become the new Secretary Treasurer.
Widely considered to be the “voice of labor” in Washington state, the WSLC has more than 600 affiliated local unions and organizations, representing some 550,000 rank-and-file union members, making it the largest union organization in Washington. Current WSLC President Larry Brown announced in March that he would not seek re-election for another term. Sims and Carter will begin their four-year terms on Jan. 5, 2023.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our affiliates and of April and Cherika, who will be a dynamic and inspiring leadership team for the finest state federation in the country,” Brown said. “Our council has been a national leader on the issues of racial justice and equity, both inside and outside of our unions. The historic election of two Black women who have demonstrated strong leadership skills and passion for building power in the labor movement represents the kind of progress we are all seeking. I am confident that April and Cherika have the experience and vision to take the Washington State Labor Council to new heights.”
The WSLC Election Board met to review the affiliated unions’ nominations for the council’s executive officers and Vice Presidents and declared Sims and Carter — plus a number of regional Vice Presidents (see the list below) — election winners by acclamation. Pursuant to Article 7.14 of the WSLC Constitution, if there are no more qualified candidates than there are officers to elect for any office, the election board will declare the candidates elected.
April Sims was elected WSLC Secretary Treasurer in December 2018, after serving as the WSLC’s Political and Strategic Campaign Director. She first joined the WSLC in September 2015 as Field Mobilization Director. Sims joined the WSLC staff after serving 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.
As WSLC President, Sims will be the chief executive officer of the council supervising all of its activities and staff, promoting affiliation with the WSLC, representing the council at the national AFL-CIO, and performing any other duties as assigned by the WSLC Executive Board.
Cherika Carter joined the WSLC staff in March 2018, and like Sims, has served as Political and Strategic Campaigns Director and previously as Field Mobilization Director. Prior to joining the council, she was Member Political Organizer of UFCW 1059 in Columbus, Ohio, and a Field Representative of the Ohio AFL-CIO.
As WSLC Secretary Treasurer, she will be the chief financial officer of the council, taking charge of all financial documents and records, overseeing all receipts and expenditures, reporting on those activities to the WSLC Executive Board and convention, and performing any other duties as assigned by the Board.
The WSLC Election Board has also announced that the following candidates for regional WSLC Vice President have been elected by acclamation:
Sean Bagsby, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Katie Garrow, Laborers International Union of North America
Jon Holden, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Jane Hopkins, Service Employees International Union
John Scearcy, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Clint Bryson, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Mark Riker, Sheet Metal Workers/SMART (Everett)
Diana Winther, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Eric Thrift, Laborers International Union of North America
Ted Cummings, United Steelworkers
Tina Morrison, American Federation of Musicians
James Tieken, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Chuck Moe, Laborers International Union of North America
WSLC-affiliated unions will be sent ballots by Oct. 20 to elect Vice Presidents in the Second Region, and the remaining positions in the Fourth and Sixth Regions. 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, or as determined by the WSLC Executive Board.
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 the WSLC Constitution and By-Laws.