Tefere Gebre, born in Gondar, Ethiopia, was a political refugee who emigrated to the United States as a teenager. He graduated in 1987 from Belmont High School in downtown Los Angeles. A standout track and field athlete, he attended Cal Poly Pomona on an athletic scholarship. While in college, Tefere worked his first union job as a night shift loader at UPS (and member of Teamsters Local 396). Since, Tefere has devoted his entire life to the values of hard work and a voice at the workplace.
Tefere contributed tremendous change in redefining the growing labor movement in Orange County, California. As executive director, he doubled the political capacity of the labor movement in the county. In 2008 and every year thereafter, the federation was honored by the state federation’s Strategic Planning Committee as one of the highest-performing labor councils, and was singled out as an “agent for change” by the California Labor Federation. In less than a year as executive director, Tefere increased the federation's membership by more than 15,000 new members, established a communications division, expanded the political operations and grew the program staff.
Through Tefere's leadership, the federation built strong coalitions with faith and civil rights organizations throughout the county to advocate and support policies that improve the lives of all workers.