Three major labor leaders are based in North Carolina.
Though the state has historically not been considered friendly to labor, it has produced three leaders of major national unions in recent years:
John Wilson: A former Raleigh teacher, Wilson worked his way up the ranks of the N.C. Association of Educators, serving as president and executive director. Now executive director of the National Education Association, he has ties to Gov.-elect Beverly Perdue.
Jack Cipriani: After moving to North Carolina in 1975, Cipriani was a shop steward at Miller Brewing and now serves as Eastern Region vice president of the Teamsters. Gov. Mike Easley appointed him to the state's Employment Security Commission.
Chris Chafe: The Carrboro resident began organizing textile mills, eventually heading UNITE HERE and advising John Edwards' presidential campaign. Earlier this year, he was appointed executive director of Change to Win, a coalition of labor unions.
The three may be as much a symptom as a cause of increased labor activity in North Carolina, since their experience in traditionally hostile territory dovetails nicely with an increased emphasis on offense by national unions.