Stuart Appelbaum became President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union on May 1, 1998. He was reelected in 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. He also currently serves as an Executive Vice-President of the 1.3 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. At the UFCW International, Appelbaum serves as the Director of the Legislative and Political Affairs Department.
Appelbaum previously served as International Secretary-Treasurer, Vice-President, Executive Board Member, Assistant to the President and Coordinator of Special Projects for the RWDSU.
Appelbaum is a Vice-President of the national AFL-CIO and a member of the federation’s Executive Council. He also currently serves as a vice president of the New York State AFL-CIO.
He serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store International Union and Industry Benefit Funds.
Appelbaum is the President of the Jewish Labor Committee. He is also a board member of the Latino Victory Project.
He is an officer of two global union federations: IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations) and UNI (Union Network International). Appelbaum is President of UNI Global Commerce (representing 160 unions and 4 million workers worldwide).
He is a Vice President of the Consortium for Worker Education.
Appelbaum was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to the Regional Economic Development Committee for New York City, where he serves on the Executive Committee.
Appelbaum previously served as Chief House Counsel of the Democratic National Committee. He also previously worked for the Michigan State AFL-CIO and as Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the State of Connecticut.
Appelbaum is a member of the Democratic National Committee, and serves on the DNC’s Executive Committee and the DNC's Resolutions Committee. He also serves as the Vice-Chair of the DNC Labor Council. Appelbaum served as a delegate to the 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Democratic National Conventions and an alternate delegate to the 1992 Democratic National Convention. In 2008, he served as a member of the Electoral College as an Obama elector from New York.
Appelbaum is a summa cum laude graduate of Brandeis University, where he was named a Louis Dembitz Brandeis Scholar and was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. He is a member of the bar of the State of Connecticut. Appelbaum resides in New York City.