LOS ANGELES—On Monday, July 24, delegates of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council unanimously elected Ernesto Medrano as Executive Secretary to lead the Council.
Medrano succeeds Chris Hannan, who resigned earlier in July in order to become President of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. Hannan assumed that office on July 17.
“This is a crucial time for the Building Trades,” Medrano said. “We have a pro-worker Administration in the White House unleashing the force of infrastructure investment. We have a new generation of young workers committed to the union movement. This is our time, as the Building Trades, to lead the way and show what we can accomplish as skilled, essential union members.”
Medrano brings a long and successful history of union activism to his new job.
Medrano served as the Council’s Representative for Orange County from 2015 to 2023, leading the successful campaign to transform the once-conservative OC into a center of union activism for working people. He organized Building Trades members, elected officials and activists to win Community Workforce Agreements in the county’s three biggest cities—Anaheim, Irvine and Santa Ana.
The Council is an umbrella organization of 48 local unions and district councils, representing more than 150,000 skilled men and women in 14 Trades.
“Brother Ernesto is the unanimous choice of our delegates and our executive board,” Hannan said. “He has shown through his incessant organizing in Orange County that no region of our state, no area where workers need representation, is off limits. Ernesto has set the highest challenges for himself and our members, and they have won.”
Medrano initiated his work in the labor movement in 1984 with the United Farm Workers of America, then became a field organizer for the AFL-CIO. In 2001, Medrano began his long association with the Building Trades by joining Teamsters Local 952, based in the city of Orange. The local is an affiliate of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council.
At Local 952, Medrano coordinated large-scale organizing campaigns and in 2008 was appointed as the local’s political coordinator.
Although Medrano has worked mainly in Orange County for the last 20 years, he is rooted in Los Angeles. The son of a union leader and a garment worker, Medrano was born in East LA and graduated from LAUSD’s historic Roosevelt High School. He followed that with a degree from UC Riverside with a joint major in Spanish/Chicano Studies.
Medrano said major challenges lay ahead, as California copes with a housing and water shortage, plus the difficult goal of powering the world’s fifth-largest economy on carbon-free energy.
“The voice of the men and women of the Building Trades will be heard,” he said. “We don’t give up. I thank the delegates of our affiliated local unions and district councils for their faith in me, and I look forward to fighting alongside them for union rights and representation.”