Press Release

Our Voice, Our Ballot, Our Future: Organizers, Union Members, Activists and Leaders Unite in Historic Montgomery, Alabama, to Tackle Challenges Facing Working People at 2024 AFL-CIO MLK Conference

(Montgomery, Alabama, Jan. 14, 2024)—From Jan. 12 to 14, more than 800 union members, activists, organizers and leaders from across the country gathered in Montgomery, Alabama, for the 2024 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference. The theme of this year’s conference was “Our Voice, Our Ballot, Our Future,” in honor of Dr. King’s vision for collective action at the voting booth, in the community and in the workplace to safeguard the pillars of our democracy. The conference brought together critical constituencies of the labor movement and served as a call to action to turbocharge year-round mobilization efforts ahead of the 2024 presidential election cycle.  

Picking up on the themes of the labor movement’s historic endorsement of the Biden–Harris re-election campaign, the conference centered its focus on community engagement, civic engagement and political organizing, the evolving landscape of workplaces and democracy, and the importance of re-electing the most labor-friendly president in modern history.

AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond opened the conference by calling attention to the historical importance of Montgomery and the intentionality of choosing a city that symbolizes the power of the collective voice. Both officers underscored the significance of the upcoming election, and fostered a sense of urgency around the work and energy that is needed from union members for the fight ahead. 

“I am so proud to stand with the many workers, labor and civil rights leaders, organizers, and advocates in this moment of historic worker activism, to renew our sense of purpose in this new year, ready to take on the fights ahead,” said Redmond. “Nearly 60 years ago, right here in Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. declared to the world that ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice’—and I am so proud to be here with all of you to ignite the labor movement once again and keep bending that arc in this critical year ahead.”

“All over this country, there are people who are determined to drag us backward. But workers are doing the opposite—surging forward and challenging inequity across the country. Together we are building a modern labor movement that is ready for the future and breaking down historic barriers through our collective power,” said Shuler

With a focus on the upcoming crucial election cycle, the conference included a series of panels and workshops aimed at equipping participants with the tools and a network to mobilize their communities ahead of November’s election—with an emphasis on how to invest and prioritize working people who could play an important role in determining the outcome of the key elections this year, including for U.S. president. One panel, featuring Sen. Laphonza Butler (Calif.) and Shuler, laid out the various ways leaders can leverage their voices to advocate for the interests and needs of working people and families. Another segment featured remarks from acting Labor Secretary Julie Su that focused on the good union jobs that have resulted from the Biden-Harris administration’s historic federal investments. The conference segments covered a wide range of pressing civil rights and social justice topics such as advancing racial and environmental justice, building power with immigrant workers and more, resulting in meaningful dialogues and an exchange of ideas among the leaders. 

For a complete list of award winners, please click here. For a complete list of speakers, please click here

Contact: Isabel Aldunate, 202-637-5018