Last week, MaryBe McMillian became the first woman to be elected President of North Carolina’s Labor Federation (NC AFL-CIO).

McMillian, who served as the Federation’s first woman Secretary-Treasurer for over 10 years, began at the NC AFL-CIO after earning her PhD in Sociology. She began working closely with former president of NC AFL-CIO, James Andrew, who was the first African American to be elected President of the Federation. Andrew recently retired after being President of the NC AFL-CIO for 20 years and participating in the labor movement for over 40.

McMillian was unanimously elected at the NC AFL-CIO’s 60th Annual Convention last week.

According to an interview with Indy Week, McMillian joined the labor movement as a graduate student at North Carolina State University, where she helped the university’s housekeeping staff organize. “And it’s those women that are really why I’m in the labor movement,” McMillan said in the Indy Week interview. She continued, “It’s why I care so much about organizing in North Carolina and around the South, because those women are public employees of North Carolina.”.

Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President of NC AFL-CIO, said in the federation’s statement that “MaryBe is a champion of working people in North Carolina, and we will stand with her in the fight to ensure we all have the freedom to join together and negotiate. We will march with her to end discrimination at the polls in North Carolina and across America. And we will organize and mobilize across the state and the South.”

Media Resources: Indy Week 9/18/17; WRAL 9/15/17; NC State AFL-CIO 9/15/17

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