National Advisory Board
Charles Wowkanech is the leader of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. He began his labor career as a second-generation member of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 68, working on a start-up crew at a Newark Airport. By age 21, he was the youngest member ever appointed to the local’s Executive Board in its more than 100-year history. Wowkanech joined the New Jersey State AFL-CIO in 1990 as Assistant to the President. He then served as Secretary-Treasurer before becoming President on January 5, 1997. He was unanimously re-elected to four-year terms in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020. In 2017, during the 28th National AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention, Wowkanech was elected to a four-year term as one of 55 vice presidents on the AFL-CIO Executive Council, and he remains one of only two state federation presidents on the body. In 2019, Gov. Phil Murphy appointed Wowkanech as a member of New Jersey’s Future of Work Task Force.