September 13, 2023
Member Spotlight is a recurring blog post series intended to highlight and connect the dots between the programs and priorities of the NC State AFL-CIO and the leaders and activist members of our affiliates who make it all possible.
My name is Lynn Shoemaker, and I proudly wear several different union hats. I am a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 491, a charter member of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 9000, Vice President of the Wilmington Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI), and the newly elected President of the Southeastern NC (SENC) Central Labor Council.
It makes sense that I am where I am today–unions are in my blood. My grandfather was a member of both the Professional Firefighters Association and the Police Officers Association. My father-in-law was a lifelong member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Of nine siblings and me there are four public school educators in the Carolinas, and we all belong to our professional associations. I was told by my parents, “Never step foot on the job without being a member of your union,” and I took their advice to heart.
My life and career have been devoted to causing good trouble on behalf of workers and our community’s most vulnerable people. I have organized and attended hundreds of protests in support of laborers, voting rights, and women’s healthcare. Lawmakers have called the police to escort me off their premises, where myself and many others have stood time and again, peacefully protesting the stripping away of basic human rights. I have even been threatened with a misdemeanor. But I will never cease acting and organizing for the working people of North Carolina and beyond–because our jobs matter, we matter, our families matter.
As President of the SENC Central Labor Council and with the help of its members and officers, I am committed to building the biggest, most badass delegation in the Great State of North Carolina! We WILL register our respective members. We WILL educate our members on the facts. We WILL get our members to the ballot box. We WILL elect officials who will prioritize labor and whom we WILL hold accountable. And I challenge my sister councils to try and out-build me–I love a good competition!
What I want people to know is that Labor is absolutely the bedrock of America. Nothing else will matter to you if your family can’t afford a roof over your head or food on your table. But we must stand united, moving away from partisan politics that divide us and showing up and out for each other. “We are stronger together” is not a slogan; it is a fact, and it is the only way forward.
Labor is moving forward together, happening now not later. Do not miss it!