Executive Council Statement

On the Retirement of Christopher Shelton

The AFL-CIO Executive Council celebrates the service of our brother and friend, Christopher Shelton, retired president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

During his eight years as president and over five decades of membership with CWA, Shelton railed against the Wall Street culture that threatened to strip hard-won benefits and outsource and offshore family-sustaining jobs.

A native of the Bronx borough of New York City, Shelton started his union career when he went to work for New York Telephone in 1968 as an outside technician. He was elected a shop steward for CWA Local 1101 later that year and would serve the local in various positions until he joined the CWA national staff in 1988.

Prior to his election as president, Shelton served as regional and overall bargaining chair for several negotiations with Verizon, and also chaired negotiations for 40,000 New Jersey state workers in 2008 and 2011. He served as vice president of CWA District 1 for ten years, representing over 160,000 members in more than 300 CWA locals in New Jersey, New York and New England.

Shelton was elected president by acclamation by delegates to the union’s 75th convention on June 8, 2015. Under his leadership as president, Shelton steered the union through a fiscal crisis and a pandemic, and was committed to growing a diverse and inclusive movement through organizing, especially in new and emerging sectors of the economy.

Chris Shelton dedicated his life fighting for the rights and dignity of working people, and on behalf of the 12.5 million members of the AFL-CIO, we wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement.