He is the former president of the Metro-Detroit AFL-CIO Central Labor Council. Prior to that position, he served as the Metro-Detroit AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer and worked for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 876, as their state-wide Legislative and Political Director. He serves on the board of Progress Michigan and the advisory board for the Restaurant Opportunity Center of Michigan. He is also active in the Michigan Alliance for Immigrant Rights and the Trade Union Leadership Council.
Michalakis is the youngest serving CLC president of a major metropolitan area and the first foreign-born CLC president. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and a student at Wayne State University. Chris also serves on the Steering Committee for the D4 Collaborative (Doing Development Differently in Detroit) – including serving on the Food Policy Task Force. In January 2011, he was named a “Michigan Influencer” by Campaigns & Elections Magazine.
In 2011, Michalakis was heavily involved in Occupy Detroit.
In November 2013, Michalakis co-chaired Greater Detroit Democratic Socialists of America‘s thirteenth annual Frederick Douglass-Eugene V. Debs Dinner at UAW Local 600 in Dearborn.
In 2013, Michalakis also keynoted the Missouri Communist Party’s annual Hershel Walker ‘Peace & Justice’ Awards Breakfast,
Michalakis attacked the influence of money in politics, especially in the Republican Party and highlighted the role of its far-right corporate funders in forcing ‘Right-to-Work’ onto Michigan workers.
“For years, the DeVos family, the Koch brothers, the Waltons – here in Missouri you have a guy by the name of Rex Sinquefield – have been putting in obscene amounts of money to create organizations like the Tea Party, Americans For Prosperity, the Republican Governors Association, etc.”
“And they have been funding all of these organizations not out of the kindness of their hearts,” Michalakis said, “but because they expect a return on their investment.”
“The Missouri legislature is currently debating so-called ‘Right-to-Work’ legislation, paycheck deception and attacks on prevailing wage laws. Fortunately, Missouri Governor, Jay Nixon, has vowed to veto these and other anti-worker bills if they make it to his desk.”
Michalakis summed-up his remarks, “The Right Wing celebrated when Michigan fell and became a ‘Right-to-Work’ state. I want to make them regret that that happened.”
Michalakis acknowledges that an early mentor was leading Michigan Communist Party member Carl Reinstein.