Media Center

Feb 16

ATU celebrates Black History Month: Karen Simmons, ATU’s first black woman International Vice President

 In 1994, ATU International President James La Sala appointed International Representative Karen (Moore) Simmons as the first black woman International Vice President.

Simmons began her career in the transit industry in 1970, joining ATU Local 1307 in St. Louis, MO. She was quickly involved in fighting for the rights of ATU members and all workers. Simmons served as an Office Representative for the Local from 1976 until her election as President of Local 1307 in 1978. Simmons served as President of her Local until 1986 when La Sala appointed Simmons as the first woman International Representative of the ATU.

A native of St. Louis, MO, Simmons was a member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women and the A. Philip Randolph Institute. She was subsequently elected and re-elected as ATU International Vice President until her retirement in 2006.