Iowa's biggest labor union names new leader

Photo: AFSCME Local 61

(Undated) -- There's a new leader of Iowa's largest labor union. Rick Eilander as been named the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers, Local 61. He takes over for long-AFSCME leader Danny Homan who is retiring.

Delegates met this weekend for their convention and unanimously elected Eilander, who has been a union representative with the council since 2006. Eilander most recently was an organizer working with locals and bargaining units to expand the reach of the union in their workplaces.

“Public workers need an advocate and a fighter in their corner. AFSCME Council 61 has been there for decades, and that will continue as long as I am President,” said President Eilander. “I want to thank President Danny Homan for his years of steadfast leadership that saw this council continue to thrive during his 16 years as president. I want to also thank the members of this council for putting their faith and trust in me. Public employees are the ones that keep Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas running, but far too often they are overlooked or attacked by elected leaders. It will continue to be the mission of this council to ensure that these public heroes are shown the respect they deserve, whether that’s at the bargaining table, the state house, or in Washington. I am excited to take on this new role, so now let’s get to work!”

Eilander is a native of Newton, and joined AFSCME first as a jailer and then chief jailer with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office. He began working at the Iowa Department of Corrections in 1996, becoming chief steward of AFSCME Local 451. In 2006, he joined the staff of AFSCME Council 61 as a union representative.

Outgoing Council 61 President Danny Homan nominated Eilander for the position. Homan is stepping down after 16-years leading Local 61.

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