Experts | Research Associates | Staff | About EPI
Elizabeth H. Shuler, Chair*
Elizabeth H. Shuler is president of the AFL-CIO, a federation of 58 unions and 12.5 million working people across all sectors of the U.S. economy. She is the first woman to hold the office of president in the history of the labor federation. A visionary leader and longtime trade unionist, Shuler believes the labor movement is a powerful vehicle for progress and that unions are a central force in leading lasting societal transformations. Her leadership has focused on the future of work, clean energy economy, workforce development, and empowering women and young workers. She is committed to leveraging the labor movement’s diversity and power to advance social and economic justice and to making the benefits of a union voice on the job available to working people everywhere.
Julianne Malveaux, Vice Chair*
California State University, Los Angeles
Malveaux is the dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at California State Los Angeles. She has worked as an economist, author, and commentator, and is the founder of Last Word Productions. She is currently the president and founder of Economic Education in Washington, D.C. Her most recent book, Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy, was published in 2016. She is an outspoken activist for issues surrounding race, culture, gender, and their economic impacts.
Teresa Ghilarducci, Secretary*
New School for Social Research
Ghilarducci is a labor economist and nationally recognized expert in retirement security. She serves as the Bernard and Irene Schwartz Chair of Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research and director of the Retirement Equity Lab (ReLab). Her 2015 book, How to Retire with Enough Money: And How To Know What Is Enough, provides a commonsense blueprint to successfully save for retirement. Ghilarducci’s 2008 book, When I’m Sixty-Four: The Plot Against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them, investigates the effect of pension losses on older Americans and proposes necessary reforms to ensure retirement security. (EPI publications by Teresa Ghilarducci.)
Gary Bass, Treasurer*
The Bauman Foundation
Bass became the executive director of the Bauman Foundation in July 2011. In 1983, he founded OMB Watch, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization that promotes greater government accountability and transparency and increased citizen participation in public policy decisions, and he directed it until moving to the Bauman Foundation. In addition to his role at the Bauman Foundation, Bass is an affiliated professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, where he teaches about nonprofit advocacy and social change. Bass received a combined doctorate in psychology and education from The University of Michigan.
Nina Banks is associate professor of economics and an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Women’s & Gender Studies and in Africana Studies, a program that she co-developed with Carmen Gillespie. Her publications focus on social reproduction and migrant households, black women and work, and the economics of the first black economist in the U.S.—Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander. Professor Banks teaches courses on U.S. women’s economic history, gender and migration, and poverty in the U.S., and she is the inaugural director of the Bucknell-in-Ghana study abroad program.
Thomas M. Conway was elected by the International Executive Board to succeed retiring International President Leo W. Gerard as leader of the United Steelworkers (USW), the largest industrial union in North America, effective July 15, 2019 and was reelected to a full term in 2021. Previously, Conway served as International Vice President (Administration), a position he held since March 1, 2005. Conway was reelected four times, most recently in November 2017.
Héctor R. Cordero-Guzmán
Baruch College, City University of New York
Héctor R. Cordero-Guzmán is a professor at the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College of the City University of New York (CUNY). He is also a professor in the Ph.D. programs in sociology and in urban education at the CUNY Graduate School and University Center. Prior to joining the School of Public Affairs at CUNY, Cordero-Guzmán was a program officer in the Economic Development and the Quality Employment units of the Asset Building and Community Development Program at the Ford Foundation.
Ernesto J. Cortés, Jr.
West / Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation
Cortés is a senior advisor to the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a nonprofit organization founded in Chicago by the late Saul Alinsky. Cortés’ affiliation with the IAF officially began in 1972 when he attended the organization’s organizer training institute in Chicago. In the following years Cortés founded community-based organizations in cities throughout Texas and the southwest that are now called the Southwest IAF Network. Cortés has received numerous awards and fellowships for his work, including most recently the H. J. Heinz Award for Public Policy and an appointment as a Martin Luther King Visiting Professor at MIT in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Ray Curry became president of the UAW in July 2021. Prior to that, Curry was UAW secretary-treasurer from 2018 to 2021. From 2014 to 2018, he was director of UAW Region 8, where he had served in other roles since 2004. Curry joined the UAW in July 1992, when he was hired as a truck assembler at Freightliner Trucks in Mount Holly, North Carolina (now Daimler Trucks, NA), and from 1998 to 2004, UAW Local 5285 members elected him to serve in numerous leadership positions. A North Carolina native and military veteran, Curry served three years on active duty in the U.S. Army and five years in the U.S. Army Reserve. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a bachelor’s in business administration/finance and holds an MBA from the University of Alabama.
Attorney General of Minnesota
Keith Ellison has served as Minnesota’s attorney general since January 2019. He is the lead prosecutor in the matter of the May 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and led the team that successfully convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on a charge of second-degree unintentional murder, which resulted in the longest sentence of any police officer for killing a civilian while on duty in Minnesota. Attorney General Keith Ellison also led the team that successfully prosecuted former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter on a charge of first-and-second degree manslaughter in the matter of the April 2021 death of Daunte Wright.
As the People’s Lawyer, Attorney General Ellison’s job is to help Minnesotans afford their lives and live with dignity, safety, and respect. During the COVID-19 pandemic, his office enforced executive orders barring evictions and price-gouging, and successfully defended the constitutionality of pandemic-related executive orders in court.
Economic Policy Institute
Jeff Faux was the principal founder of the Economic Policy Institute and its president for two decades. His books include The Servant Economy, The Global Class War, The Party’s Not Over and New Hope for the Inner City. Honors include a Carnegie Scholar Award, the Weinberg Award, a Harvard Institute of Politics fellowship, an honorary doctorate from the University of New England, and a presidential appointment to the National Council on Economic Opportunity. He directed economic development programs for the War on Poverty. He has been a member of five different trade unions, a blueberry farmer, and a lifetime community activist. (EPI publications by Jeff Faux.)
Travis County District Attorney
José Garza has served as Travis County District Attorney since 2021. As a former federal public defender, immigrant rights activist, and leader of the systemic change organization, Workers Defense Project, José Garza has a unique view into how our broken criminal justice system works and how it impacts our communities.
Nonprofit Professional Employees Union, Economic Policy Institute
Elise Gould, elected union representative to the board, is one of the longest continuously active members of the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union. During her tenure with the union, she has regularly provided technical assistance to unit leadership and the bargaining team and has served on various committees including several hiring committees, setting racial equity standards in the workplace, and the workplace design team for the office move. As a senior economist, Gould’s research centers on the labor market, including work on employment, wages, race and gender disparities, and economic inequality. She holds a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. (EPI publications by Elise Gould.)
Hacker is the director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, and Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale University. He is also a board member of The Century Foundation and The American Prospect, a member of the Scholars Strategy Network steering committee, and a former Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows. An expert on the politics of U.S. health and social policy, he is author of several books about economic insecurity and the need for health care reform, including Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class.
Mary Kay Henry*
Service Employees International Union
Mary Kay Henry is international president of Service Employees International Union, where she has worked since 1979. She was elected to the SEIU International Executive Board in 1996. After her election as an SEIU international executive vice president in 2004, she led efforts to build a stronger voice for health care workers.
Institute for New Economic Thinking/Roosevelt Institute
Johnson is president of the Institute for New Economic Thinking and a senior fellow and director of the Global Finance Project for the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York. He recently served on the United Nations Commission of Experts on International Monetary Reform. Previously he served as managing director at Soros Fund Management and Bankers Trust Company, and as chief economist of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee and senior economist of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee.
The American Prospect/Demos
Kuttner is the co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect and a professor at Brandeis University’s Heller School. He is also a co-founder of the Economic Policy Institute. In 1996 he was the winner of the Paul Hoffman Award for Human Development of the United Nations, for his work on the relationship of economic efficiency to social equality. He is the author of 12 books, most recently: Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? (2018) and The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy (2019). He regularly writes on political and economic issues. (EPI publications by Robert Kuttner.)
Former Chair, National Labor Relations Board
President Obama named Wilma Liebman to be Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in January 2009. She served as Chairman until August 27, 2011, when her third term expired. Since then, she has served in various advisory roles and has taught at several universities. She is Chief External Ethics officer for the International Union, United Automobile Workers, President of the Labor and Employment Relations Association, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Economic Policy Institute.
Ms. Liebman was first appointed as a Member of the NLRB in 1997 by President Clinton and was twice reappointed by President Bush. Earlier, she served as Deputy Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and Counsel for the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen and for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Lisa M. Lynch is the Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy in Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management. Previously, she served as Brandeis University’s Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs from 2014–2015 and 2016–2020, Interim President of Brandeis University from 2015 to 2016, and Dean of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management from 2008 to 2014. Lynch is currently a member of the Economic Advisory Panel of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, and she has served as chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor (1995–1997); director (2004–2009) and chair (2007–2009) of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; and president of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (2013–2014). She has published extensively on the impact of technological change and organizational innovation (especially training) on productivity and wages, the determinants of youth unemployment, and the school-to-work transition, among other issues. She has been a faculty member at Tufts University, MIT, The Ohio State University, and the University of Bristol. Lynch earned her B.A. in economics and political science at Wellesley College, and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in economics at the London School of Economics.
Robert Martinez, Jr.
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Robert Martinez Jr. currently serves as the International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). Previous to his installment as International President, Martinez served as IAM Headquarters General Vice President (GVP) with responsibility for IAM Headquarters and the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center. A United States Navy veteran, Martinez began his IAM career in 1980 as a member of Local 776A in Fort Worth, Texas, after being hired as an Aircraft Assembler at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth Division.
National Partnership for Women and Families
Ness is the president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. Before assuming her current role, she served as executive vice president for 13 years. Ness has played a leading role in positioning the organization as a powerful and effective advocate for today’s women and families, and she serves on the boards of some of the most influential organizations working to improve health care. Previously, Ness worked in numerous capacities at the Service Employees International Union and the National Abortion Rights Action League.
University of Southern California
Dr. Manuel Pastor is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC) where he directs the USC Equity Research Institute. He is the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change, and holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Pastor’s research focuses on the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities—and the social movements seeking to change those realities. His latest book is titled State of Resistance: What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America’s Future.
American Income Life
Lori Pelletier resigned her position as Connecticut AFL-CIO President on November 30, 2018, to become Vice President and Executive Director with American Income Life. American Income Life (AIL) has served working class families since 1951 with life, accident, and supplemental health products to help protect members of labor unions, credit unions, associations, and their families. Pelletier’s role as Vice President with AIL will be to work with the country’s most prominent labor organizations and leaders to provide insurance options to their affiliates and members.
Democratic National Committee
Perez currently serves as chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Prior to chairing the DNC, Perez served as the 26th U.S. Secretary of Labor, fighting to protect and expand opportunities for America’s working people—from better wages and overtime pay to retirement security and collective bargaining rights.
National Education Association
NEA president Becky Pringle is a fierce social justice warrior, defender of educator rights, an unrelenting advocate for all students and communities of color, and a valued and respected voice in the education arena. A middle school science teacher with 31 years of classroom experience, Becky is singularly focused on using her intellect, passion, and purpose to unite the members of the largest labor union with the entire nation and using that collective power to fulfill the promise of public education.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Saunders is president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, which represents 1.4 million members. Previously he served as secretary-treasurer. Saunders began his career with AFSCME in 1978 as a labor economist. He has served in the capacities of assistant director of research and collective bargaining services, director of community action, deputy director of organizing and field services, and executive assistant to the international president.
Christopher M. Shelton
Communication Workers of America
Christopher M. Shelton currently serves as the president of the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Previously, Shelton was vice president of CWA District 1, representing 160,000 members in more than 300 CWA locals in New Jersey, New York, and New England. Shelton started his union career when he went to work for New York Telephone in 1968 as an outside technician. He was elected a CWA Local 1101 shop steward in 1968 and served Local 1101 in various positions until December 1988 when he joined the CWA national staff.
American Federation of Teachers
Randi Weingarten is president of the 1.7-million-member American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, which represents teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other healthcare professionals; local, state, and federal employees; and early childhood educators. Prior to her election as AFT president in 2008, Weingarten served for 11 years as president of the United Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2.
*Executive Committee Members
Barry Bluestone, Northeastern University
Alexis Herman, New Ventures, Inc.
Ray Marshall, University of Texas, LBJ School of Public Affairs
Robert B. Reich, University of California, Berkeley