Capitol Weekly’s Top 100: Yvonne Wheeler

Illustration by Chris Shary, for Capitol Weekly

89. Yvonne Wheeler

The explosive scandal after the release of a secretly taped meeting between Los Angeles Federation of Labor leader Ron Herrera and three LA City Council members last year did more than just cost Herrera his job. The tape, filled with racist comments, created space for Yvonne Wheeler to be unanimously elected the Fed’s new president, making her both the first Black woman to hold the position and a serious power player in LA politics. Why? Because the LA Fed has over 300 affiliated union and labor organizations that represent more than 800,000 members, making them the second largest central labor body in the nation. That kind of oomph most definitely makes her a player on the statewide level as well, as indicated by her quick election to the executive council of the California Labor Federation, steered by Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, No. 24 on this list. Wheeler, who has a long track record in the labor movement across the last 30 years, is widely regarded as a consensus builder. It’s a strength she’ll need as she seeks to rebuild trust among union members.

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