Rusty Hicks, President
On November 18, 2014, Rusty Hicks, 37, was unanimously elected to the position of President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. His election to the post makes him one of its youngest leaders and the first post-9/11 war veteran to lead one of the nation’s largest labor federations.
The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, is comprised of over 300 local unions that represent over 800,000 workers in virtually every key industry – transportation and goods movement, entertainment and media, janitorial and hospitality services, education, construction, government, retail health care and communications.
Raised by a single mother in Fort Worth, Texas, Rusty saw first-hand the challenges of attaining the American Dream. His mother was a bookkeeper, his grandfather a grocery clerk and his grandmother a teacher’s aide. Their hard work inspired Rusty to a life of service to ensure that the voices of working people are heard on the job, in their communities, and at the ballot box.
Since 2006, Rusty served as the Federation’s Political Director where he led the day-to-day operations of the storied progressive political powerhouse. Under his leadership, the Federation’s political program soared to new heights with historic electoral wins and the passage of significant public policies, including raising Los Angeles’ minimum wage and affordable homes and good, local jobs for Angelenos (Build Better LA). Rusty managed the Los Angeles Labor Movement’s campaigns to bring historic change to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors with the elections of Mark Ridley-Thomas in 2008 and Sheila Kuehl in 2014. In 2012, he led the effort to qualify and pass Proposition 28 modifying legislative term limits that brought new stability to the State Legislature. Further, Rusty served as the California Political Director for the 2008 Obama for America campaign. Rusty’s work to empower working people can be seen at every level of local, state, and federal government.
Prior to joining the Federation, Rusty served in the California State Legislature in the offices of then-Assembly Member Ted Lieu and the late-Assembly Member Mike Gordon. He also completed the Southern California Coro Fellows Program, a public affairs leadership program. In addition, Rusty was awarded the James H. Dunn Fellowship in the Illinois Governor’s Office where he carried out human services and social services policy work.
In addition to his role with the Federation, Rusty holds the rank of Lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserve where he serves as an Intelligence Officer. In 2013, Rusty completed a one-year deployment to Afghanistan where he supported the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan. His accolades include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
Rusty is a member of the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild – America Federation of Teachers Local 1521. He is also a graduate of Loyola Law School and Austin College. Rusty resides in Pasadena with his wife, Sandra Sanchez, and their dog Charlie.