Illinois AFL-CIO hires campaign veteran Samantha McClain as chief of staff

SPRINGFIELD – Samantha McClain has been hired as chief of staff for the Illinois AFL-CIO, working to advance the organization’s strategic vision to support working families across Illinois. 


“We are excited to have Samantha join our team at the Illinois AFL-CIO,” remarked President Tim Drea. “Samantha is one of the most talented strategists that I have worked with, demonstrating her expertise when she managed the Workers’ Rights Amendment campaign.  Samantha understands the diverse needs of working families fighting for equitable wages, safety conditions and the ability to bargain and will bring a unique perspective to the table to advance the needs of working people in our state.”


McClain is a political veteran and most recently served as State Director to successfully pass the Workers’ Rights Amendment in Illinois. The ballot measure added the right to collectively bargain to the state constitution and was the first of its kind in the nation. Prior to that campaign, Samantha served as Research Director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in the 2020 election cycle, helping Democrats hold the House majority. Samantha was also Deputy Research Director in the historic 2018 cycle, and Southern Regional Research Director in 2014. 


Samantha’s previous experience also includes Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the campaigns of Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. She is a native Michigander and graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s in economics and communications.



The Illinois AFL-CIO is comprised of over 1500 affiliated unions representing nearly 900,000 workers in Illinois. Union members and their families can be found in nearly every community from Antioch on the Wisconsin border to Cairo at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi River and from Danville on the Indiana border to Quincy on the Missouri border. For more information, see