April Sims (she/her) was elected President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO in October 2022 and was sworn in to begin her four-year term in January 2023. She is the first woman to be elected WSLC president and the first Black woman elected to the presidency of an AFL-CIO state federation. As President, Sims is the chief executive officer of the council, supervises all of its activities and staff, and leads Washington’s largest union organization representing more than half a million union members.
Sims’ lived experience is evidence of the power and potential of organized labor. The granddaughter of Louisiana sharecroppers and the daughter of a single mother, Sims has seen the power of unions to change lives. The Great Migration brought Sims’ grandfather to Washington, where his union job provided economic dignity for his family. Her mom’s union job pulled their family out of the cycle of poverty. As a young mother, it was Sims’ union job that allowed her to build economic security – and activated her as a leader in Washington’s labor movement.
In 2002, Sims joined the staff of her union, Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28 (WFSE), eventually serving as Legislative and Political Action Field Coordinator. April joined the WSLC staff in 2015 as Field Mobilization Director, before becoming the WSLC’s Political and Strategic Campaign Director in 2017.
In 2018, the unions that comprise the WSLC elected Sims as Secretary Treasurer of the council, the first person of color elected as a WSLC executive officer. She served in that office, as the chief financial officer of the council, from 2019 to 2022.
An innovator and change maker, Sims is a life-long resident of Tacoma, living with her family and 110-pound chocolate lab in the gritty city she’s proud to call home.