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Donna Edwards

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Donna S. Edwards, Labor Leader and Women's Trailblazer

Donna Edwards is a Cumberland native and 1972 graduate of Fort Hill High School. In 2001 she was elected secretary-treasurer and as such became the first woman to serve as a primary officer of the 350,000 member Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO. Prior to that time, and among her other labor positions, Edwards was also the first woman to serve as president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 92 (1994-2001). As noted and detailed in the Cumberland Times-News article below, Edwards was honored in 2012 by the Maryland Democratic Party with its first Barbara A. Mikulski Democratic Trail Blazing Award. Presented by Senator Mikulski, this was in recognition of Edwards' "lifetime of activism as a labor leader, social worker, and trailblazer for women leaders".

City native honored by state Democrats
Donna Edwards receives first-ever Mikulski award

For the Cumberland Times-News Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — The Maryland Democratic Party recently honored Cumberland native Donna S. Edwards at its 2012 Annual Gala.

Edwards was honored with the first-ever Barbara A. Mikulski Democratic Trail Blazing Award. She received the honor from Mikulski for a lifetime of act-ivism as a labor leader, social worker and trailblazer for women leaders.

Mikulski recognized Edwards as a daughter of Cumberland who has spent her life working to help others through a career as a social worker and union activist and breaking through barriers. She called her an outspoken, focused, tireless advocate on behalf of working people always walking the halls of Annapolis and Congress.

Edwards, elected secretary-treasurer in 2001, is the first woman elected as a primary officer of the 350,000 members of Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO. She is the chief labor lobbyist steering efforts to pass job creating worker friendly legislation and create policy that promotes make it in America.

Mikulski, also a social worker who began her career at Baltimore City Department of Social Services, praised Edwards for her years as a social worker and strategic planner for the department (1977-2001) while also being president of AFSCME Local 112, the Maryland Social Services Employees Union, since 1984.

In addition, Edwards was the first woman to be president of AFSCME Council 92 (1994-2001) leading thousands of state and university employees to victory for the right to collectively bargain.

In accepting the award, Edwards said, “I am humbled and greatly honored to receive the Senator Mikulski Trailblazer Award. I thank all the women like the Senator who came before me and cracked the ceiling.” She added that labor is vigilantly engaged in working to protect and maintain economic and social justice for the 99 percent and will be working for champions of working families in the elections.

Edwards is a 1972 graduate of Fort Hill High School and received a bachelor degree in social work from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in social work at the University of Maryland. She is the daughter of William and Ruth Edwards, Cumberland.

Update: In November 2017 Donna Edwards was elected President of the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO.


Cumberland Times-News

Photograph by Albert Feldstein and taken at an AFSCME sponsored correctional guard rally held on October 7, 2017 at Cumberland City Hall.


Collection Location:
Allegany County

Allegany County (Md.)--Biography; Allegany County (Md.)--Women.

Allegany County, (Md.)

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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