Leoard Aguilar is the first Latino to hold a top office in the Texas AFL-CIO, but he is the second San Antonio plumber, following in the footsteps of Hank Brown, a legendary president during the 1960s. Aguilar began his career in labor as a pre-apprentice with the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 142 in San Antonio. He worked his way up, winning election to several offices in that union and distinguishing himself as an instructor in gold-standard registered apprenticeship programs, as an organizer and as a political activist.
Later, as Executive Director of the Texas Building & Construction Trades Council and, more recently, as Political Director of the Southwest Pipe Trades Association — representing plumbers, pipe-fitters, welders and HVAC technicians in three states — Aguilar has advocated for programs that steer working people into union apprenticeships and for equal opportunity on the job. As a long-time member of the United Labor Legislative Committee, which is labor's lobbying arm in Texas, Aguilar has battled for and against legislation on topics that go well beyond the building trades and capture the aspirations of all working families.
In the aftermath of the recent winter storms, Aguilar has worked to show families who need repairs how to avoid price-gouging and fly-by-night companies, instead connecting storm victims with burst pipes to reputable union plumbers.