· Elected as executive vice president of the AFL-CIO at the federationís 1995 convention and was re-elected to a new four-year term in 2001. She is the first person to hold the post of AFL-CIO executive vice president, and she is the first person of color to be elected to one of the federationís three highest offices.
· Serves as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee and a member of the Board of Governors for the United Way of America.
· Began her trade union career as union secretary for the Laborers' International Union (December 1967-June 1971)
· International Union Representative of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) (1971-1973).
· Served in several positions with both the San Antonio Local and Texas Council of AFSCME (1973-1995).
· International President of AFSCME (June 1988-1996).
· Served as a national vice president of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, AFL-CIO (1986-1996).
· Elected in 1993 and served a two-year term as one of 31 vice presidents on the Executive Council of the national AFL-CIO.
· In 2001, she was elected president of ORIT, the Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers, which is the Western Hemispheric arm of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.
· Appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve on the President's Initiative on Race, as well as to serve as Vice Chair of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.
Born to sharecropper parents in Lubbock, Texas. She is a second-generation American of Mexican descent. She is the widow of Robert Thompson, and has two children by a previous marriage.
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