13. Angie Wei
California’s 1,200 AFL-CIO chapters and over 2.1 million union members are represented by the California Labor Federation, which serves as a sort of umbrella group and backbone of the state’s organized labor movement. The boots-on-the-ground top foot soldier here is Angie Wei, the Labor Fed’s legislative director and chief of staff. Wei’s group, among others, was dealt a significant blow with the Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which said public employees can’t be forced to support unions financially. But Wei is calling for a return to old-school grassroots organizing as a way for California unions to stay viable, a strategy she pushed long before the Janus decision. One of the reasons Wei is high on this list is numerical: Her organization gathers an estimated 20,000 volunteers for each election cycle, and that translates into clout when labor sits at the political table to decide issues. Wei also serves as chair of the California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation.
Updated Aug. 15, 2018