Yvonne Wheeler becomes first Black woman to lead L.A. County Federation of Labor
by KAREN MANNING
May 1, 2016 8:00 PM ‘L.A.’s first Black woman to lead county’
Yvonne Wheeler is sworn in for her second term as president of the L.A. County Federation of Labor after winning the election on Tuesday, June 25, 2011. [Photodocket via LA Times]
Yvonne Wheeler was the first Black woman ever elected president of the L.A. County Federation of Labor.
Wheeler, a social worker by trade, was elected on Tuesday, June 25, 2011, after beating out two challengers in the June primary.
After being sworn in, Wheeler said she is eager to take the role seriously.
“When I first got back from California, and I was back in my neighborhood, it was kind of like, wow, I am now a part of the federation. And it’s a really good thing — it’s great being at the table with so many good folks from all walks of life. But now that I’m actually in charge, I have a lot of conversations with many of the folks here at the table.”
Wheeler will be the first Black woman president of the L.A. County Federation of Labor, according to the labor federation. She will begin her second term in November, but is not expected to complete her term until March of 2017.
“I was surprised, but I think I’m ready,” Wheeler said on Tuesday. “And if I am, then I understand that the others will understand, that’s why I took the position.”
Wheeler, who is currently working as president of the Community Advocates, Youth and Community Program, said she was motivated to run because she felt compelled to fight for more workers’ rights in a region where the majority of people are working in the shadow of a government that has failed to keep its promises.
“Many people might think, ‘Oh, she just has a social work background.’ No, I’m social worker by trade. That is a very different thing. I’m very familiar with workers issues in the community.