FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 27, 2022
Gonzalez, First Woman and Person of Color to Take Helm at Federation, Vows to Create Opportunity for the Future of California’s Workers, Lead Labor Movement Into Next Era of Organizing
SAN FRANCISCO – Lorena Gonzalez was elected and sworn in today as the new Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the California Labor Federation, marking the start of her leadership of chief advocate for California’s workers and their unions or the unions they want to join.
Gonzalez, formerly the Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council before serving nine years in the California State Assembly, will become the first woman and person of color to lead the statewide federation.
A longtime champion of working families, Gonzalez will lead the 2.1 million-member Federation’s staff and its 1,200 affiliated unions in the advocacy of the Golden State’s workers and their rights at the workplace. Chief among those workplace rights for Gonzalez is the right for co-workers to come together to join a union and collectively bargaining for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.
“The most direct way we can truly improve the lives of Californians is to empower them at work,” Gonzalez said. “Every political election won or pro-worker policy signed into law is a step toward that goal and those will remain a focus for the California Labor Movement, but neither of those have the immediate, positive impact on a worker’s life like a union contract. This Labor Movement is going to be laser-focused on organizing workers, fighting for their rights to join a union, and kicking ass until they have the full protection of a union contract.”
As Gonzalez addressed the delegates of the California Labor Federation convention today, she announced two key initiatives that she is launching with her transition today.
First, the United Farm Workers will be affiliating with the California Labor Federation after leaving nearly two decades ago. The move is a commitment by Gonzalez and the UFW to highlight the pressing need to broaden the focus of the Labor Movement to include workers – particularly immigrant workers – who toil in uniquely exploitative industries or working arrangements that fall outside the protective confines of longstanding labor protections.
Second, Gonzalez announced the launch of the Unionize California initiative to build the most inclusive and accessible labor movement possible – one that meets workers where they’re at, and encourages and supports organizing in every form. Any worker who’s interested in unionizing their workplace — no matter what industry they work in, or how small the worksite, or how far along or educated they are about the process — will be able to simply reach out to the Federation through the Unionize California website and be quickly connected with a staff organizer. More than 100 local unions throughout the state will have organizers on call to work with workers to organize their workplace and form a union.
Gonzalez assumes leadership of the California Labor Federation following the retirement of Art Pulaski, who faithfully and tirelessly served the Labor Movement as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the State Fed since 1996.
“California’s middle class is stronger because of Art’s leadership. He led the Labor Movement through incredible battles that resulted in incredible benefits to workers compared to where our state stood when he took over 26 years ago. We are in his debt for and stand on his shoulders as we begin the work of a new era in the advocacy for working families.”
Gonzalez served as Assemblywoman for the 80th District in San Diego County from 2013 to January 2022, when she resigned to accept the position at the California Labor Federation. While an Assemblywoman, she authored several landmark law expanding the rights of workers, voters, women, immigrants, and childhood sexual abuse survivors. Gonzalez is an attorney and served as Chief Executive of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council from 2007 to 2013. She resides in San Diego with her family.
For more information, contact Evan McLaughlin at (619) 850-2790 or firstname.lastname@example.org.