“I believe that Labor Rights, Civil Rights and International Human Rights are bridges which cross the broad expanse of disparities in this country and abroad…”
Clayola Brown began serving as National President of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, located in Washington, D.C., in August 2004-- the first female to serve in that role. In addition, in February 2021 she was appointed as Civil Rights Director, AFL-CIO.
Ms. Brown’s lifelong commitment to labor activism began in her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, where she—alongside her activist mother—campaigned to organize the Manhattan Shirt Factory. She eventually became Education Director for the newly merged Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union; was appointed Civil Rights Director and served as Manager for the Laundry Division affiliate for more than 13 years. In 1991, she was elected International Vice President and continues to serve in that capacity. Clayola is also the Civil Rights Director under the repositioned union Workers United, an SEIU affiliate. She has served as a member of the General Executive Board of Workers United since its formation in March 2009. In 1995, she was elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Council, where she served for 10 years. Additionally, she has served as a Director of the Amalgamated Bank for more than 20 years.
Ms. Brown was appointed to the National Commission on Employment Policy by President Bill Clinton for 2 terms, and appointed a member of the New York State Workforce Investment Board by Governor George Pataki. At the invitation of President Barack Obama under former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Ms. Brown served as a representative member on the Labor Advisory Committee for Trade Negotiations and Trade Policy; and continued that role under Labor Secretary Tom Perez.
Ms. Brown is a graduate of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. She has done post-graduate work at American University in Washington, D.C., Queens College and York University in New York City and is a lecturer at Cornell University. She consults regularly with Trinity College in Washington, D.C. on African American affairs.