Board Member: Clayola Brown

Clayola Brown began serving as National President of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, located in Washington, D.C., in August 2004.  Ms. Brown is a Vice President and a member of the General Executive Board of Workers United since its formation in March 2009.  She has been a member of the Board of Directors of Amalgamated Bank since February 1991 and has served on the Audit Committee of the Board from February 1993 to August 1997 and serves on the Trust Committee of the Board since February 2008.

Although Ms. Brown has worked for UNITE HERE International Union since 1970, her involvement with the labor movement began many years earlier.  As a sewing machine operator at the Manhattan Shirt factory in Charleston, South Carolina, she and her mother were activists in an organizing campaign at the plant.

After choosing to pursue a career in labor, she began working for the Textile Workers Union of America in their claims department in September 1970.  Ms. Brown moved up through the ranks, working as a trainer, organizer at the J.P. Stevens campaign in the South.  She became education director for the newly merged Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union; then civil rights director.  She was elected manager for ACTWU’s laundry division affiliate, servicing more than 13 years.  She was elected International Vice President in 1991 and has been reelected every election since that time.  In 1995, she was elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Council, where she served for 10 years.

Ms. Brown’s tremendous commitment to her community and her fellow man is apparent through the many boards and organizations on which she currently serves, including Amalgamated Bank, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Business Response to AIDS/Labor Response to AIDS, the Louis and Irene Simon Scholarship Fund, the National Board of the NAACP (including chairing both the NAACP Image Awards Committee and the Labor Ad-Hoc Committee), Executive Committee  for the Workers Defense League, the Board of Governors for the United Way of the Tri-State, Board of Directors of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference/Women, Inc. and Voices for America’s Children.  She is a member of the Board of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the United Nations Advisory Council.  She was appointed to the National Commission on Employment Policy by President Clinton, and appointed a member of the New York State Workforce Investment Board by Gov. George Pataki.

Ms. Brown has received many awards and honors, including the Jackie Vaughn Award (Rainbow/PUSH), Bill Lucy Award (Coalition for Black Trade Unionists), Freedom Leadership Award (NAACP), Drum Major for Justice Award (SCLC), Rosina Tucker Award (APRI), Torch of Hope Award (Pride of Judea), and the Academy of Women Achievers (YWCA).  She is also an inductee into the HistoryMakers, an African American history archive.

Ms. Brown is a graduate of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.  She has done post-graduate work at Queens College and York College in New York City; and post-graduate work at American University in Washington, D.C. She is a lecturer at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.