Maria Elena Durazo
|Maria Elena Durazo|
|Born||María Elena Durazo|
|Residence||Los Angeles, California|
|Alma mater||St. Mary's College
People's College of Law
(m. 1988-2005; his death)
María Elena Durazo is an American trade union official. Since May 2006 Durazo has served as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. She also serves as an Executive Vice President of the governing Executive Council of the national AFL-CIO and as a Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee of the Democratic Party.
Durazo began her involvement in the labor movement as an organizer for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
In 1983, she joined the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union (HERE) Local 11. From May 1989 until March 2006, Durazo was the president of UNITE-HERE Local 11. Her participation allowed her to be elected to the executive board of HERE International Union in 1996. Further, in 2004, she was elected Executive Vice President of UNITE-HERE International.
From 2000 to 2004, she served on the National AFL-CIO's Immigration Committee and is now currently the Chair of the committee.
In 2003, Durazo became the National Director of the Immigrant Workers' Freedom Ride.
Durazo was appointed the interim Executive Secretary-Treasurer following the resignation of Martin Ludlow in February 2006, and was voted as the permanent replacement on May 15, 2006. On August 4, 2010, she was reelected as Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO.  She is the widow of Miguel Contreras, who preceded Ludlow as the executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. Durazo holds a law degree from the People's College of Law.
On January 15, 2008 Durazo endorsed Barack Obama for president, and took a three-week leave of absence from her job as Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor in order to campaign for Obama. She then became a national co-chair of the Obama for President campaign committee, and was a pledged delegate for Obama at the National Convention in Denver. She served as Vice Chair on the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee.
On August 11, 2008, Durazo was elected to serve as the new chair of the UCLA Labor Center advisory committee. The vote was by acclamation.
In 2010, Durazo was elected onto the national AFL-CIO Executive Council as an Executive Vice President. She was elected as a Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2013.
The New York Times acknowledged that “as the executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, she presides over what is widely perceived as the most successful group of unions in the country.”
Los Angeles Times’ featured stories reporter Joe Mozingo wrote that “Maria Elena Durazo is probably the single most influential individual in Los Angeles politics.”
CNN’s top news anchor in the Spanish language, Ismael Cala, said on-air that “We are proud that a woman who has had on her life story the opportunity to see from the field the issue of immigrants’ rights has become a voice for so many who cannot raise their own voices.”
Capitol Weekly named Maria Elena the third most influential non-elected California official in its 2010 Top 100 List.
- Press release by the AFL-CIO
- Press release by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor announcing the election of Maria Elena Durazo to Executive Secretary-Treasurer
- Press release by the AFL-CIO announcing the reelection of Maria Elena Durazo to Executive Secretary-Treasurer
- Abcarian, Robin (January 16, 2008). "Obama gets major labor endorsement". Los Angeles Times.
- "California Democratic Delegation 2008". thegreenpapers.com.
- Bio page at the LA County Federation of Labor web site
- Maria Elena Durazo at the Center for Labor Research and Education at UCLA
|Executive Secretary – Treasurer,
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor
2006 – present