DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Karla Swift is the new president of the Michigan AFL-CIO, succeeding Mark Gaffney who led the labor group for 12 years.
Swift is described as a lifelong trade unionist and a leader in the United Auto Workers. Delegates at the state convention in Detroit Monday elected Swift along with new secretary-treasurer Daryl Newman.
“There’s a lot of work to be done by the labor movement and all working people in Michigan,” said Swift. “Michigan wants to work and our goal is going to be focused on supporting working men and women and the fight for good jobs with fair pay and benefits,” she said.
Swift said one of her top priorities is to fight a growing movement in Lansing to make Michigan a “Right-to-Work” state.
“It really isn’t about workers at all. It’s about Landing politicians and corporate special interests and a power grab that’s going to weaken the middle class,” said Swift. “In fact, seven of the 10 top unemployment states are Right-to-Work states.”
National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Swift and Newman will “bring energy, fresh ideas and focus” to the organization.
The Michigan AFL-CIO is affiliated with unions that represent roughly 350,000 active members and nearly as many retirees.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.