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Union Member
Candidate Program

Local governments have a tremendous influence over the lives of working people.

Recognizing this, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO developed a program that recruited and assisted union members to hold public office.

Since the program started more than 20 years ago, union members have won more than 1,000 elections to New Jersey public office.
The program was replicated with great success in other states. And at the 2017 AFL-CIO Convention, delegates passed Resolution 10 to replicate, grow and support this important program across the country.
Charles Wowkanech
New Jersey State AFL-CIO President
Our efforts recruiting, training and supporting labor candidates have led to the passage of pro-worker legislation from coast to coast and everywhere in between.
—Richard Trumka
AFL-CIO President
For the past three years, the AFL-CIO has worked with state federations and local labor bodies to implement and expand the program. These efforts have yielded many successes.

How the Program Works

  • 1

    The seeds of the labor movement’s political power can be found at the local level among union member activists.
  • 2

    The Union Member Candidate Program helps state and local labor bodies cultivate these union members to run for political office to represent workers’ interests.
  • 3

    By identifying election opportunities, training prospective candidates and supporting campaigns, we are always lifting up union elected officials who champion, advance and promote pro-worker policies.
In the 2018 midterms alone, 964 union members were elected to public office across the country at all levels of government.
Our fight didn't stop when the election was over. It continues as these union members elected to public office deliver pro-worker legislation to help working families throughout the country.
When union members hold public office, they champion labor’s values and work hard to shift the balance of power for working people.
Union members elected to public office have introduced, championed and helped pass legislation that directly affects the lives of working people. Here are a few examples.
Our work to develop and elect union members to public office is just beginning. We anticipate voters to elect even more true champions for working people in 2022.