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Young Workers

Today’s young workers are part of the largest generation to enter the workforce since the baby boomers. People born between the late 1970s and 2000 also make up the most diverse and technologically savvy generation in America’s history. But they suffer the nation’s highest unemployment—about twice the national average—and the fewest job opportunities in today’s economy. And this isn’t just a U.S. problem—it’s global.

Yet this generation of young workers is active, engaged and ready to reverse economic and social injustice. With students, civil and human rights advocates, LGBTQ activists and many others, young union members and nonunion workers are coming together in a powerful force.

 AFL-CIO Young Worker Advisory Council 2016 Regional Representative Election

The AFL-CIO’s Young Worker Advisory Council (YWAC) advises and helps implement the AFL-CIO’s NextUp young worker program. Councilmembers are voices for economic and social justice in their communities and their unions, and they are charged with helping the AFL-CIO find new and innovative ways to engage the next generation of working people in the labor movement. They mentor, train, and develop young worker group leaders and publicly represent the AFL-CIO’s NextUp program across the country. Groups across the federation, from the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council to the State Federation/CLC Advisory Committee, rely on their counsel as the labor movement deepens its commitment to the engagement and development of workers.

Per Resolution 19 at the AFL-CIO Convention in September 2013 and a February 2014 Executive Council Statement, the YWAC will be made up of:

  • A young worker appointed by any international affiliate of the AFL-CIO for a term of three (3) years;
  • Five (5) young workers elected by AFL-CIO Young Worker Groups from their respective AFL-CIO regions for a term of two (2) years;
  • A young worker appointed by Working America for a term of three (3) years;
  • A young worker appointed by the Labor Coalition for Community Action (LCCA) for a term of three (3) years; and
  • Two (2) young workers appointed by the State Federation and Central Labor Council Advisory Committee of the AFL-CIO.

Key Responsibilities for YWAC Regional Representatives

  • Each elected member will serve a two (2) year term.
  • Responsible for two-way communication between the AFL-CIO affiliated young worker groups in their respective region and the national YWAC including bringing grassroots perspective to the national and also moving the Young Worker Groups to action.
  • Serve as advisors to the AFL-CIO NextUp Young Worker Program.
  • Demonstrate leadership through leading actions and programs in respective Young Worker Groups.
  • Advise the AFL-CIO on national young worker program development and provide guidance to the State Fed/CLC Advisory Committee on youth engagement.
  • Assist in mentoring and leadership training for young working people and Young Worker Groups across the country at the national, state and local level.
  • Attend and participate in YWAC meetings twice a year and monthly teleconference calls, NextUp Summits, and the AFL-CIO quadrennial convention.
  • Serve on work groups or committees as requested by the Secretary-Treasurer, or as determined by the YWAC.
  • Commitment to excellence as a YWAC member requires personal time and effort.

2017 YWAC Candidate Statements

Read the policy platform: Planning for the Economy of the Future.

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