Even so, Trumka has his work cut out for him.
Those efforts will include regular visits to college campuses by Trumka and Shuler, postings on Twitter and Facebook, and "strike forces" of 1,000 young organizers to serve as "rapid response teams" during organizing drives.
"Labor has a big challenge in talking to the younger generation and the professionals they'd like to attract," he says. "They tend to question whether joining a union is in the best interest of their long-term careers."
Trumka himself could be an obstacle to attracting younger members, adds Yager.
"In the eyes of the young people he wants to recruit, Trumka represents what many of them don't want to become," says Justin Wilson, managing director of the Center for Union Facts, a Washington-based organization that consistently criticizes unions. "When you survey young American workers, they're looking for merit pay and the ability to climb the ladder, and that's not represented by old-line unions like the AFL-CIO."