The Alaska AFL-CIO announced today that President Vince Beltrami is retiring after 15 years as the head of the state’s largest labor organization.
According to an announcement from the organization describing the change as “a bittersweet leadership change,” AFL-CIO’s Director of Operations Joelle Hall has been selected by the group’s leadership to serve the remainder of Beltrami’s term.
“Vince Beltrami has been an incredible force for the Alaska Labor movement. He leaves behind a legacy as he closes this chapter as President for the Alaska AFL-CIO. Since his early days as an IBEW organizer, Vince has made life better for all working people in Alaska. Through his leadership, Vince brought us into a new century. He will retire in power knowing we are all stronger and better able to do what is right for Alaska workers,” said AFL-CIO Secretary/Treasurer Jake Metcalfe in a prepared statement. “Vince, you did a hell of a job and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Beltrami took over as president in 2006 when Jim Sampson retired from the post and has been a fierce advocate for organized labor as the state’s most prominent labor leader. He’s been a powerful force in the Alaska political scene, particularly when it comes to boosting pro-labor candidates in issues through several elections. He threw his hat in the ring and ran for Alaska Senate in 2016 as an independent against Republican Sen. Cathy Giessel in a bitterly contested race only to later find himself supporting Giessel as she worked to stave off the worst of Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s first two years in office.
“Walked up, shook my hand, we talked for a minute, and I said, ‘You’re doing the right thing,’” Beltrami recalled in an interview with Alaska Public Media. “I think she was a little flabbergasted to hear that from me.”
Beltrami has been busily working on a home in Cooper Landing over the last several years and we’re told plans to spend his newfound free time going fishing.