419 Washington Square South Suite 200
Lansing, MI 48933
Over 1,000,000 retired and active members represented by 59 unions
The Michigan AFL-CIO is a member-driven organization, based on democratic principles. The governing body is the state Biennial Convention, held on odd-numbered years. In even-numbered years, a COPE (Committee on Political Education) Endorsing Convention is held to consider political endorsements and support or oppose constitutional ballot initiatives and legislative issues. These Conventions establish the principles and policies that guide the Michigan AFL-CIO on policy and organizational choices.
Every four years, the Biennial Convention elects the President and Secretary-Treasurer who are the Executive Officers. Every two years at the Biennial Convention, District Vice-Presidents, Union Vice-Presidents and Vice-Presidents-at-Large are elected. The Vice-Presidents and the Executive Officers constitute the Executive Board of the Michigan AFL-CIO. Between conventions, the Executive Board is the governing body. The Biennial Conventions alternate every two years between Constitutional and Legislative Conventions. The Constitutional Convention, as mentioned above, serves to elect the elect the Executive board while the Legislative Convention focuses more on ballot issues and political endorsements.
Karla Swift, President, UAW
Karla Swift is the new president of the Michigan AFL-CIO, succeeding Mark Gaffney who led the labor group for 12 years. Swift began her labor career first as member of UAW Local 483 and worker at General Motors, then as a union organizer.
Swift served as the state director of We Are the People—a diverse coalition of students, seniors and workers fighting to protect Michigan’s middle class.
Daryl Newman, Secretary-Treasurer,
Daryl Newman is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan AFL-CIO and youngest person ever elected to the Office of Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan State AFL-CIO. Immediately prior, he served as Member Mobilizer for the American Federation of Teachers, Michigan.
Since 2000, Daryl has been involved in every coordinated presidential campaign and has helped ensure that Michigan voters elected a labor-endorsed candidate. He was the youngest political director of a state Democratic Party organization in the country during his tenure at the Michigan Democratic Party.
Mike began his career with General Motors in 1978 and was elected to UAW Shop Committee in 1980. He held various offices and positions including Co-Director of the Education and Training Center. In 1999, Mike moved to UAW-GM Center for Human Resources in Detroit working in the MIS and Education and Training Departments. In 2009, Mike started as the Legislative Director for Michigan State AFL-CIO. He was elected to the Lapeer Community Schools Board of Education in 2007 and currently serves on the Board as President. Mike attended University of Michigan-Flint to obtain a degree in Resource Management/Environmental Science.
Miles Baker, Political Organizing Director
Miles is originally from L’Anse, Michigan and attended Northern Michigan University. He has worked on Democratic and labor campaigns around the country. He approaches his work at the Michigan AFL-CIO with a focus on grassroots empowerment.
Derrick Quinney, Health and Safety Director, UAW
Derrick began his career with General Motors in 1978 and got involved with U.A.W. Local 602. He was elected Citizenship and Legislative Chair in 1992 and later was appointed as Training Coordinator. He began his career with the Michigan State AFL-CIO in 2001 as the Health and Safety Director. He is in his second term on the Lansing City Council. Prior to that he served as a Commissioner on the Lansing Board of Police Commissioners.
The Michigan AFL-CIO has been supportive of transitions to renewable energy and welcomes green jobs with open arms. According to Karla Swift, current president of the MI labor federation, the AFL-CIO’s job plan for Michigan “looks at creating renewable energy jobs, investing in schools and ending ‘tax supported outsourcing of Michigan jobs.’”
Swift’s forebear, MI AFL-CIO former president Mark Gaffney was equally supportive of a green future. In a 2010 video posted by the BlueGreen Alliance, Gaffney said that “America must always have a manufacturing base, but, in the future, we can make windmills, we can make solar panels, and develop and produce energy that we don’t even know about now that could end up being much cleaner and more efficient than oil that we dig out of the ground…the future is green, the future is clean, but the future needs to be here in America producing the next energy.”
Karla Swift is now fighting for the green future that Gaffney described. Most recently, she spoke out against Republican efforts to weaken the EPA’s Clean Air Act at a 2012 rally. She declared, “regulation opponents cite costs to industry with no [regard for] the effect pollution has on public health costs, our environment or the well-being of our children and families. Weakening safeguards means surrendering our economic future and losing out on millions of good jobs.”
The MI AFL-CIO has consistently proven its compatibility with the environmental movement. Swift’s aforementioned speech was made in conjunction with other major environmental players such as John Walke at the National Resources Defense Council and Anne Woiwide of the Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club. Additionally, the BlueGreen Alliance put out a “Media Advisory” Message on May 23, 2011 describing the efforts that led up to Swifts statement. The advisory was entitled, “Michigan’s Union Members & Environmentalists Call for Jobs Plan: Environmentalists Call for End to Assault on Workers’ Rights, Hailing Michigan’s Union Workers as “Guardians of the Environment.” Additionally, the MI AFL-CIO website features the BGA’s upcoming 2014 Good Jobs Green Jobs Conference in Washington DC.
A former leader within the Autoworkers union, Swift is clearly following UAW’s counter-culture stance on emissions reduction despite the states’ history of dependence on the auto industry. For example, UAW BOB King showed his support for emissions reduction at a Detroit hearing. “Cleaner cars are already bringing jobs to Michigan and other parts of the country, and they have the potential to create even more — 150,000 more in the U.S. by 2020.” In it’s desperation for jobs, it is heartening that Michigan has turned to the green economy.