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First woman, and person of color, to head labor council

For the first time in its 62-year history, the Greater Boston Labor Council has elected a woman, and a person of color, as its leader.

Darlene Lombos, the former executive director of the nonprofit Community Labor United and the council’s former vice president, was sworn in last week as the executive secretary-treasurer of the council, which represents 160 unions around the region.

Lombos, 45, has identified reaching out to non-union workers as a top priority, at a time when young people and people of color are reinvigorating the flagging labor movement and support for unions is at a nearly 50-year high. Lombos also plans to take on companies who exploit workers and push for the election of public officials who support workers’ rights.


“I am determined to make sure that anyone who wants to be part of a union can be part of a union,” said Lombos, the daughter of Filipino immigrants, in a statement. “Corporate greed threatens not just our livelihoods and our planet, but even our democratic institutions. Unions have always had a unique role to play in challenging this imbalance of power, in leveling the playing field, and especially in this political moment, leading with our values.”

Lombos replaces Rich Rogers, who is retiring after more than 30 years in the labor movement, including 16 at the helm of the labor council.

Katie Johnston can be reached at katie.johnston@globe.com.