Penn State's School of Labor and Employment Relations welcomes Elissa McBride as the featured speaker for the 28th Annual Philip Murray Memorial Labor Lecture. This event will take place on Thursday, March 30, 2023 at 7:45 p.m. in 121 Sparks Building on University Park campus. It is open to the public and students of all majors.
McBride is the secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO. She was re-elected by delegates to AFSCME International’s Biennial Convention in 2018.
McBride joined the labor movement as a member of the United Auto Workers District 65 in 1989. In 1991, she was recruited to the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute, a new initiative to expand the ranks of union organizers and grow the labor movement. During her years as an organizer, she worked with factory workers to form unions and win first contracts in North Carolina, Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island. One-on-one communication, workplace power and direct action were critical to those victories and remain central to her philosophy of trade unionism.
Those early successes led McBride to become the New England organizing director for the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers, and later to direct the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute training program. At the AFL-CIO, she trained hundreds of community activists and organizers to build power in their workplaces by reaching workers one on one and moving them to take collective action.
McBride joined AFSCME as the director of the Education and Leadership Training Department in 2001. In this position, she prepared union members, leaders and staff to lead the labor movement into the future and become more effective champions for equality, justice and dignity on the job.
She led the creation of AFSCME’s Leadership Academy, which includes programs to help AFSCME leaders build strong local unions through strategic planning and team building; to inform members about how the union works through online classes; and to equip senior staff and elected officers to lead the union in challenging times.
Since becoming secretary-treasurer, she has spearheaded the development of the Secretary-Treasurer Online Resource Center to support the work of local secretary-treasurers. She has also traveled around the country to meet with AFSCME Strong activists and encourage their member-to-member organizing efforts. McBride is a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, and serves on its Civil Rights, Immigration and Working Women committees. She also serves on the board of directors of the National Employment Law Project and Jobs with Justice. She is a member of AFSCME Local 1072 (Council 3).
McBride lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, and has two children, Isaiah and Rosie.