​​AFL-CIO International Secretary-Treasurer to Speak at ASU on May 1

News Date
By Hazel Scott/ASU 
AFL-CIO International Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond is the keynote speaker for Alabama State University’s  International Workers' Day on  May 1 at 11 a.m. in the Ralph David Abernathy Auditorium.  International Workers' Day, also known as Labor Day, is the day that commemorates the struggles and gains made by workers and the labor movement.

The speaker is the highest-ranking Black officer in the House of Labor, a federation of nearly 60 national and international unions.  

“As the Department of History and Political Science works to establish a labor history concentration, it is gratifying to have our efforts supported by the Alabama and national AFL-CIO.  I am a vice president of the former,” said Dr. Derryn E. Moten, chair of the Department of History and Political Science.

Moten said  Redmond’s mission includes taking organized labor’s message to younger workers. In 2021, union membership among wage and salary workers in Alabama was about 5.9 percent.
“Union workers in Alabama represent the salt of the earth.  These women and men are steel workers, coal miners, dock workers, railroad workers, teachers, postal workers, and service workers, just to name a few,”   Moten said. “The mission of the Alabama AFL-CIO is to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to Alabama and the nation.”
Moten pointed out that union laborers in Alabama epitomize the workers who participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  “The anti-boycott law for which the city of Montgomery tried Dr. King in 1956 was actually an anti-labor law prohibiting workers on strike from boycotting or urging the boycotting of Alabama businesses.”
Redmond, who works in Washington, D.C., joins another AFL-CIO-ranking labor activist to speak on ASU’s campus. In 2011, AFL-CIO International President Liz Shuler, who was then the organization’s secretary-treasurer, spoke as part of a coalition of labor, civil and human rights organizations that mobilized in Montgomery to assail Alabama's nascent (anti) immigration law. While here,  Shuler marched with ASU students, faculty, and staff from campus to the Alabama Capitol.

 More about Fred Redmon

Fred Redmond’s path to the federation’s second-highest office began in 1973 when he went to work at Reynolds Metals Co. in Chicago and became a member of the United Steelworkers (USW). He was active in his local union almost immediately, serving as a shop steward and eventually vice president. He served three terms as local president.

In 1996, Redmond joined the USW staff, working with local unions in the Chicago area before accepting a position at the international union’s headquarters in Pittsburgh in 1998. For decades, Redmond served the USW in various staff and leadership roles, assisting local unions,  developing and conducting training programs, and bargaining contracts.

As international vice president for human affairs, a position to which he was first elected in 2006, Redmond oversaw the union’s Civil and Human Rights Department and worked with U.S. allies across the country in responding to attacks on voting rights and in combating economic inequality.

Redmond has spent his entire life fighting for racial justice in the workplace and throughout our communities. In 2016, he was appointed to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs, and in 2020, Redmond was tapped to chair the AFL-CIO Task Force on Racial Justice, a body focused on taking concrete action to address America’s long history of racism and police violence against Black people.

Redmond has served on the board of directors of Working America, the TransAfrica Forum, the Workers Defense League, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Interfaith Worker Justice and, since 2007, has served as chair of the board of directors of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. In 2021, Redmond was elected president of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas, a prestigious international post.