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Tefere Gebre

Tefere Gebre is the Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO. Tefere has had the unique experience of working at all levels of the labor movement.

Early Life

Tefere Gebre, born in Gondar, Ethiopia, was a political refugee and he immigrated 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. 

Work and the Labor Movement

From 1997 to 1999, Tefere was Director of Governmental Relation for Laborers Local 270. He has also worked for the statewide labor movement when he served as the Southern California Political Director of the California Labor Federation. He served as the Executive Director of Frontlash, which was then the youth and college arm of the AFL-CIO. After serving as Political Director of the Orange County Labor Federation from 2006 to 2008, his great success and leadership earned him the role as Executive Director for the labor federation in 2008.

Tefere contributed tremendous change in redefining the growing labor movement in Orange County, Calif. As Executive Director, Tefere doubled the political capacity of the labor movement in Orange 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 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 grown 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. In 2012, the federation created and took on the first ever, ten week leader initiative program at local schools to educate parents and students on city government, boards and commissions, public speaking, civic engagement and  policy change while also giving participants an understanding that work connects us all. In 2013, the federation received recognition as a "Partner in Education" from the Santa Ana Unified School District. The leadership programs are in full force in all schools and communities around the county.

Before joining the labor movement, Tefere worked for then-Speaker of the California State Assembly, Willie L. Brown Jr., as a legislative aid.  Never hesitant to lead, Tefere was twice elected as President of the California Young Democrats. He was the first African American and first immigrant elected to lead the State Young Democrats. Tefere received a bachelor's degree in International Marketing from Cal Poly Pomona.

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