Doris Crouse-Mays grew up in Rural Retreat, Virginia. She began her life’s work and dedication to Unions as she became a member of Communications Workers of America (CWA) while working as a telephone operator with United Intermountain Telephone (now known as Century Link) before transitioning into work at AT&T Manufacturing. During that time, she worked on her first political campaign, playing an instrumental role in assisting Congressman Rick Boucher unseat a 16-year incumbent in Virginia’s 9th District. When AT&T closed its New River Valley Plant in 1990, Doris went to work at the Radford Army and Ammunition Plant. Following that work, Doris went to the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU, now known as UNITE/HERE) and then Communications Workers of America (CWA) as an International Organizer. While at CWA, under her leadership, CWA had 4 elections in one year, winning 3 of the 4. As a result, CWA District 2 received the Joe Beirne Award, CWA’s highest award for organizing. In her experience as an organizer, her tireless efforts to put forth the hard work of her union sparked her interest in becoming more involved in politics, as she recognized the impact Unions could have on the political landscape of the state. Doris has been engaged in political campaigns for over 25 years.
Her interest in politics, in fact, brought Doris the opportunity to work for the National AFL-CIO, beginning in 1997, for 5 years. From there she ventured into the position as the statewide coordinator for the Labor Program—which sparked Mark Warner to be elected as Governor and Time Kaine as Lt. Governor in 2001.
Doris then went on to work for the Virginia AFL-CIO as their Political Director in 2003. During her tenure in that position with the Virginia AFL-CIO, Doris managed the organization’s political program, helping to elect worker-friendly candidates to local, state, and federal office.
On February 12, 2006, Doris was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Virginia AFL-CIO, becoming the first woman to serve as an executive officer of the Virginia AFL-CIO. In August 2006, she was re-elected for a 4-year term. During her second stint as Secretary-Treasurer of the Virginia AFL-CIO, Doris became a member of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2008.
Doris became the first woman to be elected President of the Virginia AFL-CIO on August 13, 2010, the same year in which she was named a member of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC’s) executive council. Doris’s steadfast work and dedication to making the voices of Union members of Virginia heard, led her into a second term as President of the Virginia AFL-CIO, during which she served as co-chair of the Budget and Finance Committee of the DNC and received the honor of Virginia Women in History by the Library of Virginia in 2017. In August 2018, she was re-elected as President of the Virginia AFL-CIO for her third term where she continues to fight for the rights of Virginia’s union members and working families.
Doris is happily married to Mike Mays, a retired Business Agent from Sheetmetal Workers’ Local 100.