(Washington, DC) The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) announced today the appointment of Marc Bayard as an IPS Associate Fellow. Marc will direct our bold new Black Worker Initiative aimed at lifting up the perspectives of African American workers and helping to forge strategic partnerships between unions, faith, and civil rights groups to strengthen the U.S. labor movement.

The Initiative has several key components that together help frame a road map to how black worker organizing can be an ongoing vehicle for the preservation of the labor movement and the promotion of civil rights and racial and economic justice. We will use conferences, published reports, public education materials, and mainstream and social media to promote a broader and more positive view of African American workers and their concerns.

In 2015, the Black Worker Initiative will strive to accomplish several major goals. Two we would like to highlight include:

  1. Keys to Revitalization: Organizing Black Workers and Communities in the South: We will convene a series of gathering of national and regional labor, civil rights, faith, and community leaders to discuss and plan a new way forward in organizing black workers and communities in the South. It is clear that the role of marginalized workers will be a significant factor in the labor movement in the coming years. IPS would like to be a part of the solution to helping expand opportunities for black worker organizing, focusing first on opportunities that present themselves in the South, and thereby greatly aiding the revitalization of the U.S. labor movement as a whole.
  2. And Still I Rise: Black Women Labor Leaders’ Voices, Power, and Promise: We are developing a groundbreaking report on the role of African American women in the labor movement called “And Still I Rise.” This effort is designed to engage black women labor leaders and activists in exploring ways to leverage their organizing expertise for the preservation of the labor movement and the economic advancement of the black community. It is a contribution to the much needed discourse on the vibrant relationship among women, race, and work. The heart of And Still I Rise is the collection of 15-20 extensive interviews/oral histories with black women labor leaders, organizers, and rank-and-file union members and workers at different stages of their careers.

In developing the Initiative, Marc will draw on his extensive experience working on labor issues at the national and international levels. He served as Executive Director of the Worker Institute at Cornell University from 2011 to 2013 and as the Africa Regional Program Director for the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, AFL-CIO, from 2003 to 2011. Most recently, he was a fellow with the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University.

“When the labor movement is strong, the progressive movement is strong, and the role of marginalized workers will be key to our future success,” said IPS Director John Cavanagh. “Through Marc’s strong strategic analysis, passion, and years of union experience, he is well-positioned to work with diverse forces to realize the full potential power of African American workers.”

The Institute for Policy Studies, founded in Washington, DC, in 1963, has served as a policy and research resource for visionary social justice movements for five decades. The new Black Worker Initiative will complement ongoing IPS work in several areas:

  • Economic Hardship Reporting Project, initiated by best-selling investigative journalist Barbara Ehrenreich, this project supports investigative journalism on poverty and economic insecurity.
  • A low-wage worker project that provides policy research, communications, and networking support to dynamic organizations representing restaurant, domestic, and other marginalized workers.
  • Inequality.org and the related Too Much newsletter, which provide a stream of cutting-edge information on extreme wealth and income concentration and practical remedies.

For more information: 

Marc Bayard bio, photo, and contact information: http://www.ips-dc.org/authors/marc-bayard/

IPS Communications Director Elaine de Leon, elaine@ips-dc.org, tel 202-787-5271