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Successful L.A. Labor Leader Maria Elena Durazo to Leave Post for New Challenges




María Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles
County Federation of Labor, speaks at a rally for borax miners.
Credit: LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

María Elena Durazo announced today that she will leave the LA County Federation of Labor, which she has led for more than eight years.

“I feel that the Los Angeles labor movement is very strong, very progressive, very proactive,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “Altogether, we have accomplished a lot. And there is a passion I have always had for immigration and civil rights. So I have the opportunity to do this and completely focus on those issues.”

Durazo will take a new post as international vice-president for immigration, civil rights and diversity at UNITE HERE, whose Los Angeles-based Local 11 she led before joining the County Fed.


A Los Angeles magazine profile last year called Durazo “the leader of what is perhaps the most robust labor movement in the country.” With her lead, the Los Angeles labor movement has indeed been a powerful voice and effective force for working families, active in elections and policy debates as well as at the workplace. In labor’s political success, Durazo has built on the groundbreaking work of her late husband Miguel Contreras, who occupied the same role when he passed away in 2005.

Last spring, Durazo sat down with Capital & Main editor Steven Mikulan to discuss the state of labor, immigration reform and how the landscape has changed since she took the County Fed post in 2006. (The New America: A Talk with Maria Elena Durazo, Part I and Part 2)


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