Governor Pat Quinn appointed Joe Costigan to serve as the Director of the Illinois Department of Labor in April 2011. Joe has served in the labor movement in a variety of capacities for over thirty years, including as a delegate to the Chicago Federation of Labor and as Vice President of the Illinois AFL-CIO.
Prior to his appointment at the Illinois Department of Labor, Joe served as the elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Chicago and Midwest Region of Workers United which represents over 20,000 members across the Midwest. (Workers United is an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, SEIU.)
He got his start in the late 1970’s in the J.P. Steven’s textile workers campaign and went to work on the staff of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) in Chicago in 1979.
During his time at the union, he served the union membership in a variety of capacities including Organizer, Union Service Representative, education department staff and as Communication’s Director. In 1998, he was named Political Director for UNITE in the Midwest and was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the regional union in 2005.
Joe was instrumental in many successful organizing and bargaining campaigns for his union, including the national campaign to save thousands of jobs at Hartmarx clothing company, which was threatened with closure as a result of the banking crisis and the deep economic downturn in 2008. Through his efforts, nearly 2,500 jobs were saved at the company’s operations throughout North America including over 600 jobs in Chicago.
Joe also led the fight to save the jobs of clothing workers at the Hugo Boss Apparel factory in Cleveland, Ohio in 2009, when Hugo Boss announced the closure of its Cleveland apparel manufacturing facility. Through his efforts and the campaign he led, the company reversed its decision and over 200 jobs of workers in were spared.
Joe is married and the father of three children, and is a graduate of the University of Illinois in Champaign.