New members were elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Council this morning. Sean McGarvey, president of the Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD), will fill the seat of former President Mark Ayers, and Laura Reyes, secretary-treasurer for AFSCME, will fill the seat of retiring AFSCME President Gerry McEntee. AFSCME President Lee Saunders was named chair of the Executive Council Political Committee.
The McGarvey and Reyes have a strong foundation in the labor movement.
McGarvey began his career as an apprentice glazier with Glazier’s Local 252 in Philadelphia in 1981. After serving his local, he rose steadily in the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) until he was elected general vice president at large in 2000.
McGarvey, who had served two terms as BCTD secretary-treasurer, was elected president of the BCTD after the passing of former President Mark Ayers. The executive council adopted a policy statement in tribute to McGarvey’s predecessor, Ayers, who died April 8 at age 63.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says:
Sean McGarvey is a passionate trade unionist, and a leader who has enormous shoes to fill. We know he will do justice to the memory of his predecessor, to the BCTD, to our entire labor movement and to the working people of America.
Ten years ago Reyes was a full-time at-home care provider for her son who had special needs. That’s when she joined the United Domestic Workers (UDW) Homecare Providers Union/AFSCME Local 3930.
After she was elected as a delegate to the AFSCME convention in 2006, she joined the committee that updated and refocused the UDW constitution around the interests of members. She was elected president of UDW in 2008 and became an international vice president for AFSCME in 2009. Last month, with AFSCME President Lee Saunders as her running mate, Reyes was elected secretary-treasurer for AFSCME.
The AFL-CIO congratulated newly-elected AFSCME President Lee Saunders. Trumka said:
I would like to congratulate Lee Saunders on his own election as president of AFSCME....I've known Lee for many years, we've worked together on many fronts, and I know he's going to do a great job taking the helm of our largest affiliate.