Connecticut AFL-CIO backs state lawyer to lead federation

ROCKY HILL, Connecticut (AP) – In solidarity, AFL-CIO member unions in Connecticut voted unanimously on Friday for a list of new leaders who will represent the umbrella federation at a time when unions feel emboldened.

Delegates from nearly 250 member unions, virtually attending the 14th Biennial Convention held on Zoom, unanimously voted for Ed Hawthorne as president and Shellye Davis as executive vice president, in addition to several other executives .

At 36, Hawthorne, a lawyer and former hearing officer in the state Department of Labor, vice president of AFSCME Local 269 and president of the Western Connecticut Area Labor Federation, becomes the youngest person to lead the AFL-CIO of Connecticut.

“Working on your behalf as Connecticut AFL-CIO president is a dream come true,” he said, promising that he and Davis would work to ensure union members “realize the American dream”.

Hawthorne replaces longtime union leader Sal Luciano, who is retiring after three years. Luciano began his career as a social worker at the former State Department of Children and Youth Services. He was elected president of his local union and later became executive director of AFSCME Council 4, a position he held for 17 years.

Luciano expressed his optimism for the labor movement, noting that there is strong endorsement for organized labor and unionized workers across the country who have gone on strike during what has been dubbed “Striketober”.

“The workers are working their muscles,” he said. “Sisters and brothers, we have the winds of change behind our backs. We can make a real movement for positive social change. Let’s not waste this opportunity. “

Davis, who is president of the Hartford Federation of Paraprofessionals, AFT Local 2221, is the first black woman to be elected as the second-highest leader of the AFL-CIO of Connecticut.

The unanimous support of Hawthorne and Davis comes on the heels of the unions merging behind the federation. New England District 1199, SEIU, which represents nursing homes, group homes and other healthcare workers, recently joined the AFL-CIO while the building trades recently agreed to stay. with the federation.