MARÍA ELENA DURAZO
Executive Secretary -Treasurer
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
Maria Elena Durazo was elected to serve as Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO on May 15, 2006. In 2010, she was re-elected to her second term with overwhelming delegate support, affirming her track record of energetic leadership and innovative growth in Los Angeles County’s labor movement.
Through more than 300 local unions, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor represents over 600,000 workers in every key industry, including transportation/goods movement; entertainment/media; services including janitorial and hospitality; education and construction; public sector and retail; health care and communications, to name a few.
The daughter of Mexican immigrant farm workers, Maria Elena learned the importance of hard work and determination at a very young age. As a child, she traveled from Oregon to California with her parents and nine siblings to work in the fields.
In 2010, Maria Elena was elected an Executive Vice President of the national AFL-CIO Executive Council where she serves as the only leader of a local labor movement in the country. She is also the Chair of the National AFL-CIO’s Immigration Committee. She previously served in this Committee from 2000 to 2004.
In 2013, Maria Elena was elected a Vice Chair for the Democratic National Committee, DNC. She served as a National Co-Chair for President Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012. Maria Elena also had the great honor of serving as Vice Chair to the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Before leading the L.A. County Federation, Maria Elena was elected as President and built the hotel workers union UNITE-HERE, Local 11, into one of the most active unions in Los Angeles County. Her hard work led her to become the first Latina elected to the Executive Board of HERE International Union in 1996. In 2003, Maria Elena became National Director of the Immigrant Workers’ Freedom Ride, a national mobilization campaign initiated by HERE International to address the nation’s immigration laws. In 2004, she was elected Executive Vice President of UNITE-HERE International.
Maria Elena has served on several commissions including the Los Angeles City Commission on Airports where she was appointed by Mayor Bradley, followed by her appointment to the Parks and Recreation Committee by Mayor Richard Riordan. She was also appointed to the California State Coastal Commission by former Speaker of the California State Assembly, Herb Wesson.
Maria Elena is the Chair of the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s appointee to the Los Angeles Economy and Jobs Committee, Board of Directors for LA Inc., the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the California League of Conservation Voters.
A resident of Los Angeles, Maria Elena is the mother of two sons, Mario and Michael, grandmother to Seneka and Sydney and the widow of Miguel Contreras, former Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.
Capitol Weekly named Maria Elena the third most influential non-elected California official in its 2010 Top 100 List. Maria Elena is a graduate of St. Mary’s College in Moraga and earned a law degree from the People’s College of Law in 1985.