TUC elects new President
TUC: 15 September 2005
Gloria Mills, a senior official with public services union, UNISON, is to be the next TUC President and is the first black woman ever to be elected to the position, the TUC announced today (Thursday).
Gloria was elected at a meeting of the TUC's General Council on the last day of the 137th Congress in Brighton and takes over from Jeannie Drake, Deputy General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union.
Gloria Mills has been active in the trade union movement for over two decades. She made history in 1994 when she became the first black woman to be elected to the TUC's General Council.
Gloria's involvement with trade unions began in 1978 when she signed up to print union, NATSOPA, whilst she was working in legal publishing. It was not long before Gloria was elected as mother of the chapel.
Gloria then went to work for another print union, SOGAT (Society of Graphical and Allied Trades). Then in 1985 she moved into the public sector when she started with NUPE (National Union of Public Employees) as a regional officer, later working as a senior national officer for the union.
In 1993, when the three public sector unions merged to form UNISON, Gloria was made the new union's director of equal opportunities. Over the past 12 years, she has been responsible for a range of union campaigns on equal pay, childcare, women, employment, race and human rights issues.
Gloria's pioneering work on equal rights and race issues has helped shape the agendas, structure and culture of the trade union movement. She has worked hard to move equality from the margins to the mainstream of the trade union movement and make it a priority on the political agenda across Europe.
Gloria Mills joined the TUC executive committee in 2000, is chair of its race committee and is a member of the TUC women's committee. She is a CRE Commissioner and a member of the editorial advisory board of Equal Opportunities Review.
Gloria Mills said: 'During my year as TUC President I would like to concentrate on trying to help make British workplaces and our towns and cities more inclusive places to work and live.
'Everyone leaving school should have the same opportunity to succeed, but unfortunately many children from ethnic backgrounds are disadvantaged because their parents are poor, and because they face discrimination in many areas of our society. I intend to promote strategies that will help to develop more cohesive communities and redress the cycles of discrimination, disadvantage and deprivation in these communities.
'Unions are doing all they can to tackle prejudice and make work a fairer place for everyone, and through learning at work schemes, unions are giving many people a second chance. I look forward to a very interesting and challenging year.'
Gloria was awarded the MBE in 1999 for services to trade unions and the CBE earlier this year. She is 47 and lives in south London. She's an avid cricket fan and supports Arsenal.