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Uriah Ward joins MRLF staff as federation’s new strategic campaigns manager

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, May 25, 2024
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Uriah Ward photo
Uriah Ward


By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

MINNEAPOLIS — Uriah Ward has joined the staff of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO as the federation’s new strategic campaigns manager. He started at MRLF April 15.

“Uriah will be leading our organizing and growth strategies and supporting us in all of our critical political/legislative/policy campaigns,” said Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou, MRLF president.

Ward brings to MRLF his experience as an educator, a union organizer, and a political activist — and as a current elected member of the St. Paul School Board.

A native of North Carolina, Ward said, “growing up in the South there’s not a strong union presence… Moving here it’s a night and day difference seeing the difference in workplaces where workers have the opportunity to come together to advocate for themselves and the people they serve.”

“For most of my career, I’ve been an educator,” Ward said. He taught middle school social studies in North Carolina and he most recently worked as an adjunct professor at Concordia University in St. Paul teaching government and politics.

Ward and his wife Ashley moved to Minnesota in 2018 when she accepted a teaching job with the St. Paul Public Schools.

Ward worked for two and one-half years in the financial aid office at Augsburg University in Minneapolis. There he initiated the campaign to organize the Augsburg Staff Union, which worked with OPEIU Local 12 to win the first private college staff union in Minnesota.

After first moving to St. Paul, Ward worked as an organizer on the St. Paul Public Schools’ “Vote Yes for Kids” campaign to pass school funding ballot questions.

Ward got to know community members and school staff and they encouraged him to run for St. Paul School Board.

At the time, Ward recalled, he was asking himself, “how do I fit into the community? How do I help?”

He ran for school board in 2021, endorsed by the St. Paul Federation of Educators, and won election.

“I’m a believer in the cause of public education, a school system that serves everyone,” Ward said. “I feel a deep connection to public education as an institution because it was there for me.”

Running for school board wasn’t Ward’s first experience with political campaigns. While still in college, he managed two city council campaigns. He also worked for the 2008 Obama campaign as an organizing fellow and opened the campaign’s Greenville office. In 2012 and 2016, he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

“I’ve been involved in every election in some capacity from high school to now,” Ward said.

Ward, 32, grew up in Greenville, North Carolina and earned an undergraduate degree in political science and a master’s degree in education from East Carolina University.

Ward and his wife Ashley, who is an Education Minnesota member, live in St. Paul with their one-year-old son.

Although he’s now come to be deeply engaged in his adopted state of Minnesota, Ward said, “I still feel like snow is magical — I didn’t have it growing up.”

Ward took over the job as MRLF’s strategic campaigns manager from Casey Hudek, who has moved to a new position as organizing director of the Workers Confluence Fund, which is aligned with the MRLF in supporting worker organizing by unions and worker centers.

To contact Uriah Ward:

[email protected]