Linda Chavez-Thompson was elected executive vice president of the AFL-CIO at the federation’s 1995 convention and was re-elected to a new four-year term in 2005. She was the first person to hold the post of AFL-CIO executive vice president, and she was the first person of color to be elected to one of the federation’s three highest offices.
A native of Lubbock, Texas, Chavez-Thompson is a second-generation American of Mexican descent. She brought to her work 35 years of experience in the labor movement, beginning in 1967 with her first work for the Laborers’ local union in Lubbock. She went on to serve in a variety of posts with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in San Antonio, Texas, and became an international vice president in 1988, a post she held until 1996. She also served from 1986 to 1996 as a national vice president of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, AFL-CIO. In 1993, Chavez-Thompson was elected and served a two-year term as one of 31 vice presidents on the Executive Council of the national AFL-CIO.
As executive vice president of the federation, Chavez-Thompson represented the labor movement as a member of the board for several national organizations, including the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. She also served as a member of the Board of Governors for the United Way of America and as a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. In 2001, she was elected president of ORIT, the Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers, which is the Western Hemispheric arm of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.