Elise Bryant elected national CLUW president, heading up dynamic team

ELISE BRYANT, the new national president of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, speaks at the recent AFL-CIO’s “All of Us or None of Us” pre-convention diversity conference at America’s Center in St. Louis. – Labor Tribune photo

Elise Bryant, a member of Communication Workers of America, is the new national president of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW).

Bryant, the coalition’s eighth president, was elected to a four-year term by delegates attending the recent 19th Biennial CLUW Conference in Detroit. She replaces Connie Leak, a member of the United Auto Workers, who had served as president since 2014.

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve the membership of CLUW as president,” Bryant said. “I am excited about taking on this work with a fabulous group of women who are smart, savvy and dedicated trade unionists. We shall rally, we shall sing and we shall overcome – together.”

Bryant joined CWA/TNG Local 32035 in 1998 and served as the bargaining unit chair at the National Labor College for eight years. She serves on TNG’s executive board as a member-at-large. She is also a lifetime member of the Wobblies (Industrial Workers of the World) as well as AFM Local 1000.

In 2012, she was given the Lifetime Achievement Award from the United Association of Labor Educators, and in 2015, she was presented with the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild’s Front Page Award for community service. She currently is the executive director of the Labor Heritage Foundation.


Other top officers include Carla Insinga, who is the new national executive vice president. She is the director of Dauphin County Public Employees District Council 90 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in Pennsylvania. She has been active in AFSCME since the mid 1980s, becoming local president and serving as the director of Council 13’s Organizing and Education departments. Insinga was elected to the CLUW National Officers Council in November 2013 as the vice president representing AFSCME.

Judy Beard was re-elected as CLUW national treasurer having served since 2004. In 2001, she was elected as a CLUW national vice president representing the American Postal Workers Union (APWU). She is the national legislative and political director of the APWU, being the first woman elected in that position. Early in her career she was an employee at the University of Michigan School of Industrial Relations and served as Detroit APWU district area local vice president.

Joanne M. Sanders is the new CLUW national recording secretary. She was Indiana’s CLUW state vice president for seven years, and in 2009, was elected as CLUW national vice president for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). In addition, she serves as an international representative for IATSE. She was elected in 1999 as councilor at large for the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council, serving for 12 years.

Bennie R. Bridges was re-elected as CLUW national corresponding secretary, having served since 2011. She was elected a CLUW national vice president representing the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) in 2001. She has been a member of AFGE since 1968. In 1979, she was appointed as the District 12 National Women’s Advisory coordinator, becoming a member of the CLUW East Bay Chapter. She is an active retired member of AFGE Local 1122.


CLUW national vice presidents elected to another term are: Shelvy Young Abrams, AFT; Janet M. Hill, USW; Tanya James, UMWA; Angela W. Johnson, UFCW; Shyla La’Sha, SAG-AFTRA; Vera A. Newton, UAW; and Sarah Reynolds, ATU.

Newly elected national vice presidents include: Lisa C. Blake, OPEIU; Rachel Bryan, IBEW; Carolyn Burton, TWU; Patricia Chardavoyne, AFSCME; Debra Davis, SEIU; Jennifer Grigsby, AFGE; Karen Bellamy Lewis, IFPTE; Sylvia J. Ramos, CWA; Rhonda S. Rodgers, IAM; Rachel A. Walthall, APWU; and Myra Warren, NALC.


Formed in 1974, CLUW is America’s only national organization for union women. The goals of the group, which is endorsed by the AFL-CIO, are to promote affirmative action in the workplace; to strengthen the role of women in unions; to help with organization efforts for women who are not in unions; and to increase the involvement of women in the political and legislative process.


For more information about the organization, visit cluw.org.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here