John Olsen served as president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, which consists of approximately 500 affiliated labor unions involving more than 200,000 union members statewide. He served in this capacity for more than 20 years, having first been elected to the post in 1988. Under Olsen’s leadership, the AFL-CIO’s commitment to political education, legislative action, grassroots organizing and community mobilization has strengthened organized labor’s voice as an advocate for all of Connecticut’s working families.
Olsen got his start in the labor movement as president of the UA Local 133, the plumbers’ and pipefitters’ union, and later he was elected to the Connecticut AFL-CIO Executive Board. He subsequently served as general vice president and then as secretary-treasurer, the second-highest ranking position in the statewide labor movement.
In addition to his leadership positions in labor relations, Olsen served as secretary-treasurer of the Connecticut State Building and Construction Trades Council. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority and the Connecticut Executive Training Committee.
Olsen was first appointed to the Connecticut Innovations Board of Directors in 1989. He was reappointed by former Governor M. Jodi Rell.