July 23 2004

California’s Unions Elect First Woman President

Connie Leyva Was Leader Of Grocery Strike

The California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO elected its first woman president, Connie M. Leyva.

“Today we have made history by electing the first woman president in our Federation’s history,” said Art Pulaski, the executive secretary-treasurer of the 2.1 million-member organization.

Leyva, 37, is president of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1428 (Pomona/Claremont). During the Southern California grocery strike, she served as a strategist, field director and media spokesperson.

The federation voted, on July 13, 2004, to elect Leyva at its biennial convention in San Diego.

Leyva has deep roots in the labor movement. Her father was a supermarket worker who belonged to UFCW Local 1428 and her mother is a 28-year veteran of the California State Employees Association.

Leyva joined Local 1428 during her senior year in high school, while working for Alpha Beta. She worked her way through college, graduating in 1992 from the University of Redlands with a B.A. in communicative disorders. She began her career at Local 1428 in 1994 as a temporary employee in the benefits department.

She was appointed a union representative in 1995. In 2002 she became the first woman president of a UFCW local in Southern California.

In 2004 the California Teachers Association saluted Leyva as one of “Thirteen Amazing Women.”

Leyva met her husband Albert when they both were working at Alpha Beta. They have twin 12-year-old girls, Allie and Jessie. They live in Chino.

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