By DON McINTOSH
Larry Brown, president of the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC), announced March 8 he’s retiring and won’t seek a second term when his current four-year term expires at the end of 2022.
The state labor federation’s number two officer, secretary-treasurer April Sims announced that same day that she’s running to succeed Brown as president, and will campaign with Cherika Carter to take her place as secretary-treasurer. Brown is endorsing both their candidacies.
Shannon Myers, a WSLC vice president and president of the Southwest Washington Central Labor Council, also announced March 8 that she will run for secretary-treasurer.
WSLC is the state’s AFL-CIO, a federation of 600 local unions representing about 450,000 members. Its role is to coordinate union electoral and political campaigns, among other duties.
Brown became WSLC president after winning a close contest in late 2018, getting slightly more support from affiliates than Lynne Dodson, who was WSLC secretary-treasurer at the time. Brown got his start in the union movement as a Machinist member at Boeing in 1983, became a union business representative at Machinists District Council 751 in 1997, and later served 12 years as the union’s political director.
“It is time to clear the way for the next generation of leaders,” Brown said in an online post explaining his decision to retire.
Sims got her start in the union movement in 2002 as a member of Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28. She became shop steward, union officer, and eventually the union’s legislative and political action field coordinator. In 2015 she went to work as WSLC’s political director, and stayed there until she was elected secretary-treasurer in 2018.
Carter was a field representative for the Ohio AFL-CIO and came to Washington in 2018 when she was hired by WSLC as field mobilization director. She succeeded Sims as WSLC’s political director in August 2019.
Myers is a member of Machinists Woodworkers Local Lodge W536 dating back to her time as a union service marketer at Sunrise Dental, and was president and recording secretary at the local. She’s served as president of the Southwest Washington Central Labor Council for hte last 14 years and is one of 20 WSLC vice presidents.
Myers and Carter could be in for a long campaign, with plenty of time to differentiate their plans and their records. At WSLC’s July 19-21 convention in Wenatchee, delegates will elect an Elections Committee. Voting will then take place in December, and affiliates will cast votes in proportion to the per capita dues they contribute to the federation.