Aguilar Elected Secretary-Treasurer of Texas AFL-CIO

Leonard Aguilar, a San Antonio plumber with outstanding leadership and legislative advocacy experience in the unionized Texas building trades, has been elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Texas AFL-CIO.

By acclamation, the state federation's Executive Board chose Aguilar to succeed Montserrat Garibay, who recently began a job in the Biden Administration. Aguilar will finish Garibay's term, which expires in the summer of 2023.

"This is truly an honor," Aguilar said. "I know there are a lot of people who are hurting and suffering right now and need a lot of help. Those working families are obviously going to be our main focus now. But we have much more to do in Texas. I am going to learn every day and do my utmost to fight for a fair shot for all working families."

Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy said Aguilar brings a wealth of experience and demonstrated hands-on leadership to the position.

"Leonard Aguilar doesn't wait for things to happen," Levy said. "He goes out and gets things done. He has traveled the state, weaving people's voices into the labor movement as he advocates on their behalf. His inspirational story has connected with the Legislature and in Texas politics, he has delivered a message of inclusion for all working people. The Texas AFL-CIO will benefit greatly from Leonard's expertise and wisdom as we build a bigger, broader labor movement in Texas."

Aguilar, 47, becomes the first Latino to hold a top office in the Texas AFL-CIO, but he is the second San Antonio plumber, following in the footsteps of Hank Brown, a legendary president during the 1960s. Aguilar began his career in labor as a pre-apprentice with the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 142 in San Antonio. He worked his way up, winning election to several offices in that union and distinguishing himself as an instructor in gold-standard registered apprenticeship programs, as an organizer and as a political activist.

Later, as Executive Director of the Texas Building & Construction Trades Council and, more recently, as Political Director of the Southwest Pipe Trades Association — representing plumbers, pipe-fitters, welders and HVAC technicians in three states — Aguilar has advocated for programs that steer working people into union apprenticeships and for equal opportunity on the job. As a long-time member of the United Labor Legislative Committee, which is labor's lobbying arm in Texas, Aguilar has battled for and against legislation on topics that go well beyond the building trades and capture the aspirations of all working families.

In the aftermath of the recent winter storms, Aguilar has worked to show families who need repairs how to avoid price-gouging and fly-by-night companies, instead connecting storm victims with burst pipes to reputable union plumbers.