Chicago Federation of Labor
Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL), AFL-CIO
130 East Randolph Street, Suite 2600
Chicago, IL 60601
The Chicago Federation of Labor represents 320 local unions and over 500,000 members.
Each Council-affiliated organization elects delegates to the CFL as representatives of their union, giving their union’s members a voice within the Council. More than 320 union delegates comprise the CFL. Every three years, the Council holds elections for officers, trustees, trade section representatives, and constituency group representatives. These individuals make up the Executive Board, which meets twice monthly to consider requests from affiliates and other Council business. The unions that make up the individual sections appoint trade section representatives. The entire Council body nominates candidates and votes to fill the other positions. The president is the principal officer and full-time staff person of the Council.
Jorge Ramirez, President
Jorge Ramirez was elected President of the Chicago Federation of Labor in 2010. He previously served as Secretary-Treasurer. Prior to joining the CFL in 2006, Ramirez was elected Vice President and served as Executive Director of Local 1546 of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Since 2008.
Ramirez has served on the Cook County Health and Hospitals System Board of Directors as Vice-Chairman. In 2012, he was named to the Chicago Infrastructure Trust board and the Cook County President’s Council of Economic Advisors. He currently serves as a member of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Labor Advisory Committee, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Advisory Council on Agriculture, Small Business and Labor, the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau Board of Directors, the Navy Pier, Inc. Board of Directors, the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, and is co-chairman of the City of Chicago Labor Management Cooperative Committee (LMCC).
He serves as co-chairman of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council and member of the National Manufacturing Renaissance Campaign design team, and a Rector of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Ramirez also serves on the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls Board of Regents, the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago Board of Directors and a number of other boards and commissions.
Robert G. Reiter, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer
Robert G. Reiter, Jr. was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Chicago Federation of Labor in 2010. He is a third-generation member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 and previously served as an Organizer, Business Representative and Field Attorney responsible for negotiating collective bargaining agreements for public-sector members in the Municipalities Department. IUOE Local 150 represents approximately 23,000 heavy equipment operators in the construction industry throughout Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa, with the majority in Illinois.
Prior to working for the Municipalities Department at Local 150, Reiter worked for the Indiana Illinois Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting, a labor-management cooperation committee. While at the IIIFFC, Reiter concentrated on issues such as prevailing wage, employee misclassification and responsible bidding at both the grassroots and legislative levels. Reiter currently serves on the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority Board overseeing McCormick Place, Chicago Jobs with Justice Executive Committee, Citizen Action/Illinois Policy Council and the Metropolitan Planning Council’s Resource Board.
Rosetta Daylie, 1st Vice-President, AFSCME Council 31
James P. Connolly, 2nd Vice-President, Chicago Laborers’ District Council
Jesse M. Rios, Sergeant-At-Arms, AFGE
- Terry Allen, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134
- Thomas Balanoff, SEIU Illinois State Council
- Henry Bayer, AFSCME Council 31
- Robert Boskovich, Ironworkers Local 1
- Kenneth R. Boyd, UFCW Local 1546
- John T. Coli, Teamsters Joint Council 25
- Dan P. Fabrizio, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2
- Terrence P. Fitzmaurice, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council #14
- Terrence J. Hancock, Teamsters Local 731
- Brian Hickey, IUOE Local 399
- Keith Kelleher, SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana
- Frank T. Libby, Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters
- Karen Lewis, Chicago Teachers Union
- Robert W. Pierson, IBEW Local 9
- Joseph M. Pijanowski, IAMAW Local 126
- James T. Sullivan, Plumbers Local 130
- James M. Sweeney, IUOE Local 150
- Henry J. Tamarin, UNITE HERE Local 1
- Rocco Terranova, Sheet Metal Workers Local 73
- Jim Allen, Bricklayers Local 21
- Brian Glynn, Heat and Frost Insulators Local 17
- Ed Ward, Chicago Federation of Musicians Local 10-208
- Dennis J. Gannon
- Don A. Turner
- Thomas J. Faul
The Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) has adopted a wide array of strategies to protect the environment and create green jobs avenues. The CFL has actively pursued energy efficient infrastructure redevelopment and green building, leveraged private sector green projects for the public good, and campaigned to save the EPA. In the words of President Jorge Ramirez, “we should commit to rebuilding not only our roads, bridges and schools, but also the next generation of infrastructure needs, from fiber optics and broadband capabilities to renewable energy sources.”
The Chicago Federation of Labor pushed for the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, following the example of Clinton’s Global Initiative, which Ramirez praised for creating “hundreds of thousands of jobs for Americans, [developing] new industries in the United States, [enhancing] our country’s global competitiveness, and [reducing] the threat of climate change.“ After the authorization was announced in 2012, Ramirez wrote, “Chicago will have yet another tool at its disposal to create jobs moving the city forward. The ﬁrst project, called Retroﬁt Chicago, will create roughly 2,000 jobs making city buildings more energy efﬁcient.”
The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust and Building Trades Council has also been instrumental in providing the members of the Chicago Federation of Labor with green construction opportunities. HIT’s largest Chicago investment was the $157 million 500 Lake Shore Drive contract to build a 45-story apartment tower that will “incorporate energy efficient appliances and lighting, and feature a vertical green wall on the east facade.” The project is said to create 750 construction jobs, a promise that Ramirez hailed in light of Chicago’s 11.7% employment rate.
The redevelopment of the Bronzeville Senior Apartments and Hazel Winthrop Apartments is a smaller yet substantive HIT funded project. Financed under the HIT’s Green Jobs Initiative, the $11 million project will “not only [create] good jobs for our members but represent the positive impact unions and their pension capital have on the community,” said Tom Villanova, President of the Chicago and Cook County Building and Construction Trades Council. The redevelopment work will include “exterior and interior repairs and upgrades as well as a number of improvements to reduce the buildings’ environmental impact, including greater insulation, storm water management, energy-saving appliances, and more efficient energy systems.”
The CLF’s green building initiatives are so significant that one of its affiliates, the Carpenter’s Union, has caught the attention of mainstream media. “The construction of a sophisticated, energy friendly, single-family home in Lemont, Illinois by union tradesmen and women is the focus of the 13-episode television series ‘Built to Last’ on public television.
The Carpenters Union is also partially responsible for a labor agreement at McCormick Place. With the help of the Teamsters, (also an affiliate of the CFL with many locals in Chicago), the CLF reported that Chicago has won the business of Solar Power International and “convinced three major hotels to invest millions in renovations.” Solar Power International “is a jointly owned trade event serving the interests of all businesses in the creation of clean, renewable and reliable solar electricity.”
In addition to its wide ranging construction projects, the Chicago Labor Federation supports environmental protection through AFGC’s “Save the EPA” campaign, featured in the “Take Action” section of the CLF site. The “Save the EPA” campaign goal is “to draw the public’s attention to the potential impacts of the draconian budget cuts being proposed by Congress on the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the nation’s human health and the environment.” The AFGC Local #238 believes, “that the U.S. EPA’s mission, To Protect Human Health and the Environment, is a worthy goal for the common good.” This is particularly relevant in Chicago, as the link between climate change and health has been highlighted in recent summers. The Union of Concerned Scientists specifically chose Chicago’s Millennium Park to discuss the release of their new report that found that “summer weather is changing in ways that increase the risk of heat-related health impacts especially in [cities like Chicago].”