Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou has been elected president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO — the first woman ever elected to head the Minneapolis central labor body.
At the regular monthly meeting of the MRLF Dec. 9, Glaubitz Gabiou led a slate of candidates who were elected unanimously to four-year terms by delegates from affiliated unions.
The MRLF includes more than 170 affiliated local unions, who together represent more than 75,000 west metro area workers and their families. The membership is diverse and includes workers from all backgrounds, including construction workers, teachers, nurses, government workers, service industry workers, and others.
Glaubitz Gabiou has worked for the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation since 2012, first as political director then as campaigns manager.
Broad support for Glaubtiz Gabiou’s candidacy for the top leadership spot in the Minneapolis labor movement reflects a growing nationwide commitment by AFL-CIO unions and federations to advance women and younger labor activists into leadership positions.
“My top priority is supporting our affiliated unions and partner organizations in growing the labor movement,” Glaubitz Gabiou said. “Our out-of-balance economy places extreme barriers to working people speaking up together.”
Glaubitz Gabiou recently was tapped by the national AFL-CIO to participate in a national leadership development network for emerging labor leaders from across the United States. Recently, she also was appointed to Minneapolis’ Workplace Partnership Group, tasked with advising the City of Minneapolis on the earned sick time policy currently being developed.
“We can create policies that allow parents to have the time to care for a sick child,” Glaubitz Gabiou said. “We can create policies that encourage family sustaining wages. We can choose to invest in education, infrastructure and domestic manufacturing. We need to make these choices at the national, state and local level. We need to make these choices in school boards and city halls throughout our region.”
Glaubitz Gabiou is a member of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 653.
She started her career in the labor movement as a rank-and-file grocery store clerk at Cub Foods and then worked on several political campaigns, including Senator Al Franken’s inaugural Senate race.
Prior to joining the staff of the MRLF, Glaubtiz Gabiou worked for the Southeast Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO, where she was a field organizer.
Glaubitz Gabiou, 30, grew up in a working class family in Eagle Lake, Minnesota. She and her husband, Michael Gabiou, have a 1-year old son.
“I did not grow up in a union household,” Glaubitz Gabiou said. “I am part of a generation of workers who did not learn about labor unions in school. This is true for a majority of people now, and the fact that I have found my way into the labor movement, I believe, is a testament to its future.”
“Young people care deeply about their communities and feel a strong desire for justice in their lives, their workplaces and in their communities,” Glaubitz Gabiou said. “We as a movement of workers are redefining how the union serves it members.”