Bill McCarthy has made a lifelong commitment to the pursuit of social and economic justice for all workers. As President of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, Bill is committed to ensuring that all workers earn a living wage, receive health and retirement benefits, and most importantly, are treated with dignity and respect.
Bill grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota and attended Jefferson High School. After high school, he enlisted in the Army and served in Vietnam. Following military service, he attended the University of Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Urban Studies.
Bill’s life of serving others broadened through his work in patient care at various Twin Cities hospitals. His passion for helping people continued while working as a paraprofessional with special needs children at Dowling School in Minneapolis. These two jobs reinforced his belief that simple compassion and caring can bring about positive change in peoples’ lives. He understood the importance of defending the disadvantaged and assisting those in need.
Bill’s desire to help people grew as he became actively involved with the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union while working as a part-time bartender. Initially as a Business Agent and later as the elected President, Bill committed himself to improving people’s lives in the workplace. For 15 years, he diligently spent long hours in the trenches with his own membership and those of other labor unions defending the rights of workers. His strong work ethic and conflict resolution skills yielded many victories and advances.
Bill is a consensus builder. He believes that strength comes from working together and in building coalitions. This type of collaboration ensures that the gains achieved benefit everyone involved. Through this approach to partnering, he has gained many successes and blazed new trails for his union and for labor in general. He fought for economic justice, respect and dignity for workers in the hotel and restaurant industry. He has motivated and empowered workers and taught them that workers can control their destiny through collective action.
Bill currently serves on the Board of Directors for the United Way, MEET Minneapolis (Visitors and Convention Bureau) and the Urban League. Additionally, he serves as a member of the Twin Cities Area Labor/Management Council and board member of the Worker Interfaith Network.
Serving as the elected President of the Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council since 2002 (now called the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation), Bill is committed to making our community a place where workers earn a living wage and have time to spend with their families, a place where employers respect the contributions of workers and where elected leaders are held accountable to working families. He is committed to organizing, mobilizing and reaching out to community allies and building the power to change workers’ lives.