Elizabeth Bunn

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Elizabeth Bunn

Mary Elizabeth Bunn has charted new territory at the United Auto Workers and on the AFL-CIO Executive Council. [1]


Bunn received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and her law degree from Wayne State University Law School in Detroit. She was a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council until 2010, a lifetime member of the NAACP and a member and officer of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW). She lives in Detroit with her husband, Jordan, and two sons, Paul and Jordy.[2]


Bunn holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a JD from the Wayne State University Law School. [3]

Labor activism

As a member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, Bunn provided critical support to the local’s long legal struggle to protect copyrights on the Internet. Before being elected vice president in 1998, Bunn was an administrative assistant to former UAW President Stephen P. Yokich. She first joined the international staff when Owen Bieber appointed her associate general counsel in 1985.[4]

UAW post

In her two terms as secretary-treasurer of the UAW—the highest post held by a woman in the history of the union—she has dedicated herself to the first principles of trade unionism:

Helping working women and men organize and bargain union contracts. A pioneer in the organizing of graduate employees and other white collar workers, her strategic vision and creativity are credited with helping tens of thousands of people win better lives, from 6,000 workers at health care facilities in Ohio and Michigan to 4,000 employees of the State of Kentucky; from 18,000 academic workers at colleges and universities nationwide to 40,000 child care workers in Michigan. She played a critical role in helping workers secure their rights to majority sign-up at companies such as Lear and Johnson Controls.

Soon after she was first elected secretary-treasurer of her union, Bunn led a four-year campaign in which academic student workers at the University of Washington joined together and successfully organized into the UAW—and won a change in state law that permanently permits student workers to organize.

Bunn's experience at the negotiating table started early in her career with the UAW, when she helped bargain contracts in the Midwest for employees of the State of Michigan, the State of Indiana, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan and others. Later, she negotiated wide-ranging national contracts with employers including Alcoa, JCI Battery and Bosch.

The collective bargaining teams she has led are known as some of the most innovative in the union movement. Their achievements for their members have included child and elder care referral services, parental leave for school events, sick banks that allow workers to share leave time with other workers dealing with family emergencies and improved pay equity protections.[5]

Saluting Democratic Left


UAW leaders Stephen Yokich (President), Ruben Burks (Sec-Treasurer), and Vice Presidents Elizabeth Bunn, Ron Gettelfinger, Nate Gooden, Bob King and Richard Shoemaker, placed an advertisement in Democratic Socialists of America's Democratic Left, Winter 2001, "The men and women of International Union, UAW salute Democratic Left - A strong voice for social and economic justice". [6]

Helping Stabenow and Grantholm

Elizabeth Bunn was the creator of the UAW's Woman-to-Woman campaign that helped elect Senator Debbie Stabenow in 2000 and Governor Jennifer Granholm in 2002.[7]

AFL-CIO executive

As a member of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, Bunn has served as a member of Council committees on Civil and Human Rights, Community Partnerships, Finance, Immigration, International Affairs, Political Education and the Health Care Reform Campaign. She chaired the Committee on Women Workers. She has won a reputation as one of the most persuasive advocates on the council for employees in the industrial sector as well as for white collar employees, and as an eloquent and effective leader for working women and people of color. She retired in 2010. [8]

2006 Frederick Douglass-Eugene V. Debs Dinner

The 2006 Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America, Frederick Douglass-Eugene V. Debs Dinner was held Saturday, November 18, 2006 from 6-9 p.m. at UAW Local 600, 10550 Dix Avenue in Dearborn. The honorees were Michigan AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Tina Abbott and inventors Stan Ovshinsky and Iris Ovshinsky. The keynote speaker was noted labor and globalization expert Harley Shaiken.[9]

The co-chairs for this event were UAW Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Bunn and Father John Nowlan, chair of the Interfaith Committee on Workers Issues. [10]

Democratic Party "super delegate"

In February 2008 Michigan Democratic Party Super Delegates were;[[11]

Charles Brown Mon, 25 Feb 2008

DSA member

In 1999 Elizabeth Bunn, was Detroit UAW vice-president and a Democratic Socialists of America member.[12]

Democratic Socialists of America is participated in the U.S. Social Forum June 22-26 2010, in Detroit, Michigan. UAW Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Bunn, and DSA Honorary Chair Frances Fox Piven were two of the DSA speakers at the Social Forum.[13]

Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center

In 2009, Elizabeth Bunn was a member of the Host Committee for the Essential: Advocacy for Community Justice Reception & Silent Auction which was held at the Atlas Global Bistro, Detroit. The reception, which was held on Nov. 18, 2009 is the annual fundraising event to benefit the far left National Lawyers Guild-affiliated Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice. Remarks were made by Steve Tobocman and the Maurice Sugar Voice for Justice Award was presented to Marilyn Mullane, Executive Director, Michigan Legal Services.[14]

The Justice Caucus

On March 21, 2010, The Justice Caucus held their annual award and fundraising dinner in honor of the life of Millie Jeffrey. The dinner was held at the Courtyard by Marriott, 3205 Boardwalk Dr., Ann Arbor. The keynote speaker was Governor Madeleine M. Kunin (Vermont) and the MC for the night was Michael McGuinness, chair of the Oakland County Democratic Party. The following progressive activists were recognized with the Millie Jeffrey award, "reflecting their commitment and work for economic and social justice": Elizabeth Bunn, secretary-treasurer of the UAW; Maryion T. Lee; Ethel Schwartz; and Ron Scott. Sarah Juster, an Ann Arbor high school student "who has shown exceptional leadership in the fight against genocide and to provide relief to the refugees of Darfur," received the Millie Jeffrey Rising Star Award.[15]