To The Editor: Saunders elected first Black president of AFSCME

The NAACP congratulates Lee Saunders on his election to serve as the new president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Saunders is the first African American president in AFSCME’s history.

“For his entire career, Lee Saunders has been a staunch defender of workers’ rights and civil rights,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “As the first African American president in AFSCME’s history, he will surely continue to build coalitions between AFSCME and the civil rights community.”

“Lee Saunders has been an outspoken ally of the NAACP on issues ranging from fair pay and equal opportunity to voter suppression,” stated Hilary O. Shelton, NAACP sr. vice president for advocacy and policy and Washington bureau director. “We welcome him to his new position at AFSCME and look forward to continuing to work with him.”

Saunders has been working with AFSCME since 1978. He began his career there as a labor economist, serving in the capacities of assistant director of research and collective bargaining services, director of community action, and deputy director of organizing and field services. Prior to his election, Saunders served as secretary-treasurer.

AFSCME is the largest union of government workers in the nation, with 1.6 million members. The group also elected Laura Reyes as the first female secretary-treasurer in the organization’s history.


From an NAACP press release

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