About Us

Our Mission

Our Mission

Briefings, Resources and Collaboration

Our Capitol Hill briefings have made I4AW a leading voice of labor policy in Washington, DC. We combine expert analysis with customized research on complex labor legislation for policymakers who are debating and forming labor policy in our nation's capital. 

Our History

I4AW's leadership has decades of knowledge and experience on labor issues, the inner workings of congressional labor committees, and federal outreach. We pass this knowledge onto our partners.

In 2018 F. Vincent Vernuccio and Jennifer Butler created Institute for the American Worker to better inform policy makers and stakeholders in Washington DC about current developments in labor policy. I4AW’s cofounders have knowledge and experience on labor issues, the inner workings of congressional labor committees, federal outreach and nonprofit management. Vernuccio brings over a decade of expertise in labor law and policy and is regarded as one of the leading experts in the field.

Our Team

F. Vincent Vernuccio


*Scroll down for list of published works*

F. Vincent Vernuccio, president and co-founder of Institute for the American Worker, brings over 15 years of expertise in labor law and policy. Vernuccio holds advisory positions with several organizations, including senior fellow with the Mackinac Center. Vernuccio served on the U.S. Department of Labor transition team for the Trump Administration and as a member of the Federal Service Impasses Panel. Under former President George W. Bush, he served as special assistant secretary for administration and management in the Department of Labor. He has advised state and federal lawmakers and their staff on a multitude of labor-related issues, and testified before the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and Labor Policy.

Published Works by F. Vincent Vernuccio:

Mary Ellen Beatty

Vice President, Communications

Mary Ellen Beatty is a strategic communicator with more than a decade of experience in issue advocacy and non-profit management. She understands how to craft messaging and frame policy issues for both national and state and local campaigns. She has direct experience managing organizational content strategy for various Washington, DC nonprofits, running media outreach efforts and serving as an on-the-record media spokesperson.

Senior Fellows

Senior Fellows Program

Collaborating With Labor Experts

The Institute for the American Worker recently named eight extraordinary labor policy experts to serve as the Institute’s senior fellows (a voluntary position). These distinguished experts have impressive backgrounds ranging from executive agency and regulatory experience to legal and policy leads at the foremost labor policy organizations in the country. I4AW will collaborate and elevate the existing work of these senior fellows to support the shared mission and educational initiatives of their respective organizations including Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Foundation, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, National Right-to-Work Legal Defense Foundation, and the Stand Together Chamber of Commerce. Besides providing for opportunities for collaboration and original research, I4AW will showcase the work these experts are already doing, connecting them to policymakers across the nation’s capital and ensure that decision makers in Washington have access to the most relevant and pertinent labor research available.

Mailee Smith

Honorary Senior Fellow

Mailee Smith is the Staff Attorney and Senior Director of Labor Policy at Illinois Policy Institute. In this role, she focuses on labor relations and their impact on Illinois taxpayers. Her commentary has been featured in media outlets such as the Chicago Tribune, National Review, and Fox Business Network.

Before joining the Institute, Smith was the primary litigation counsel for a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, where she handled various First and Fourteenth Amendment constitutional law issues. She is admitted to practice in Illinois, before the U.S. Supreme Court, and in eight federal appellate courts. She is a former law clerk to Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp of the Southern District of Florida.


David R. Osborne

Honorary Senior Fellow

David R. Osborne is Senior Fellow for Labor Policy at the Commonwealth Foundation, a Pennsylvania-based think tank transforming free-market ideas into actionable public policies, and Counsel to Goldstein Law Partners. Prior to joining the Commonwealth Foundation, David was CEO of Americans for Fair Treatment. He has also served as President & General Counsel of the Fairness Center and as presidential appointee to the Federal Service Impasses Panel.

Ken Girardin

Honorary Senior Fellow

Ken Girardin is a fellow at the Empire Center, where his work focuses on organized labor’s effect and influence on state and local government policy. Ken earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in materials engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York. He previously worked in the New York State Legislature.

Michael Lucci

Honorary Senior Fellow

*A senior fellow is a volunteer position*

Michael Lucci is a Senior Fellow at the Cicero Institute and a Senior Policy Advisor at State Policy Network. Michael has served as a presidential appointee on the Federal Services Impasse Panel. Prior to that he served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy to the Governor of Illinois. He was previously the Vice President of State Projects at Tax Foundation and the Vice President of Policy at Illinois Policy Institute. Michael was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, and resides with his family in Leander, Texas. He previously worked as an educator and as an options trader. Michael received a B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in Arts and Sciences from the University of Notre Dame.

Rachel Greszler

Honorary Senior Fellow

*A Senior Fellow is a voluntary position.*

Rachel Greszler is a research fellow for the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget at the Heritage Foundation, where she focuses on labor and retirement policies including: employment opportunities; independent work; women’s issues; the minimum wage; federal employee compensation; paid family leave and other family-friendly workplace policies; Social Security; disability insurance, and pensions. Her work focuses on policies that promote economic growth, individual freedom, and well-being.

Before joining Heritage in 2013, Greszler was a senior economist on the staff of the Joint Economic Committee of the Congress for seven years.  She completed her graduate studies at Georgetown University, where she earned master’s degrees in both economics and public policy. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Mary Washington.

Greszler, who grew up in a small town in Western New York, currently resides in Bethesda, Md. with her husband and six children.

James Sherk

Honorary Senior Fellow

*A Senior Fellow is a voluntary position.*

James Sherk served as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy on the White House Domestic Policy Council. At the White House James served as President Trump’s top civil service reform and labor policy advisor between 2017 and 2021. He had primary White House responsibility for developing and coordinating policy with Federal labor agencies, including the Department of Labor, Office of Personnel Management, and the National Labor Relations Board.

James led the inter-agency working group that produced Labor Department regulations updating the salaried overtime threshold, defining joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act, clarifying which employee benefits count towards an employee’s regular rate of pay for overtime purposes; and requiring union trust funds to file financial transparency reports. James was the architect of the Trump administration’s Federal labor relations strategy. He was also the principal author of and/or policy lead for approximately two dozen executive orders and presidential memoranda. These included executive orders that streamlined the process for dismissing poor performers, directed the renegotiation of agency union contracts, and limited taxpayer-funded union time (EO’s 13836, 13837, and 13839), as well as Executive Order 13487 that allowed small businesses to offer Association Health Plans. James additionally served as a member of the President’s Council on Improving Federal Civic Architecture.

Prior to his White House service, James was a Research Fellow in Labor Economics at the Heritage Foundation. At Heritage James was a nationally recognized expert on labor markets, labor policy, and the civil service. Congress and state legislatures frequently asked for his expert testimony. James’s commentary and analysis have been featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and the National Review. He also has been featured as a guest expert on Fox News, CNN, and ABC, among others. James received a B.S. in Mathematics and Economics from Hillsdale College and an M.A. in Economics from the University of Rochester.

John Raudabaugh

Honorary Senior Fellow

*A Senior Fellow is a voluntary position.*

Professor Raudabaugh (J.D., 1977, University of Virginia School of Law/ M.S., Labor Economics, 1974, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University/ B.S., Labor Economics, 1968, Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, University of Pennsylvania) teaches labor law and a labor law practicum. He practiced law for nearly 40 years in the areas of labor law, employee relations, comparative labor and employment law, international labor standards, social responsibility initiatives and compliance, strategic counseling, appropriate unit design, collective bargaining and arbitration, union organizing and corporate campaigns, representation and unfair labor practice litigation, and strikes and injunction proceedings and related litigation. He represents employees before the U.S. National Labor Relations Board and federal appellate courts as staff attorney with the National Right to Work Legal Defense and Education Foundation.

Professor Raudabaugh served as Aide and Flag Lieutenant to the Senior Admiral in the U.S. Navy Supply Corps. He was nominated by President George H.W. Bush, confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and served as a Member of the U.S. National Labor Relations Board deciding over 4,000 cases. He practiced labor law in nationally and internationally recognized law firms, represented U.S. employers at the International Labor Organization, assisted the U.S. State Department in international discussions regarding trade agreements and labor law compliance, and in advising foreign governments regarding domestic labor law. Professor Raudabaugh assisted U.S. congressional representatives and senators in drafting legislation and testified before House and Senate Committees regarding labor law matters.

List of Published Works
  • Labored Law: Bilateralism or Pluralism, Ossification or Reformation?
    Indiana Law Journal (2012), Vol. 87: Iss. 1, Article 7
    John Raudabaugh, Nixon Peabody, LLP
  • “NLRB Representation Elections and Initial Collective Bargaining Agreements: Safeguarding Workers’ Rights?”
    April 2, 2008, Statement of John N. Raudabaugh
    U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies of the Committee on Appropriations
  • “National Labor Relations Board 2007 Year in Review: Fueling Union’s Demand for Euro-Centric Labor Law Reform” CCH Labor Law Journal, Spring 2008, pp. 16–25.
  • “Employee Free Choice Act…or…Global Outsourcing Act?” 2007.
  • “Contract Modification and Unilateral Change—Bath Iron Works,” ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law.
  • Secret Ballot Protection Act of 2004,
    Statement of John N. Raudabaugh
    U.S. House Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations of the Committee on Education and the Workforce.
  • “National Labor Relations Board 2007 Year in Review: Fueling Union’s Demand for Euro-Centric Labor Law Reform,” CCH Labor Law Journal, Spring 2008, pp. 16–25.
  • “Electromation: An Opportunity Lost or Just Postponed?” Chapter 29, Non-Union Employee Representation.

  • “Employee Relations Law Reform,” Industrial Relations Research Associations 50th Anniversary Volume, Government Regulation of the Employment Relationship.

  • “One Former Board Member’s Recommended Changes to the National Labor Relations Act,” IRRA.

Akash Chougule

Honorary Senior Fellow

*A Senior Fellow is a voluntary position.*

Akash Chougule is Vice President of the Economic Opportunity Initiative at the Stand Together Chamber of Commerce, a community of organizations breaking down barriers in the four key institutions of society – business, communities, government, and higher education – to help people improve their lives. Prior to Stand Together, Akash served as a Professional Staff Member at the Committee on Education and Labor in the U.S. House of Representatives. Prior to the House, Akash was the Director of Policy at Americans for Prosperity, the nation’s largest free-market grassroots advocacy organization.

Akash has contributed commentary on the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and National Public Radio, and his writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, and many other publications. He was previously selected to Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” for Law & Policy, received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Boston College, and a Master’s degree from George Washington University.

Maxford Nelsen

Honorary Senior Fellow

*A Senior Fellow is a voluntary position.*

Maxford Nelsen is the director of labor policy for the Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit policy advocacy and public interest litigation organization based in Olympia, Wash. with offices around the country. In addition to researching and writing about labor policy issues, with an emphasis on public-sector unions, Max regularly testifies before local governments and state legislatures and submits formal comments to federal agencies considering regulatory actions affecting labor policy. His research has formed the basis of several briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court and dozens of formal complaints submitted to government agencies regarding illegal union activity.

Max’s work has been published in local newspapers around the country and in national outlets like the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Hill, National Review and the American Spectator. He has also discussed his work in interviews featured on Fox News, PBS News Hour, One America News, and Newsmax. He is regularly interviewed on local radio and TV stations in the Pacific Northwest. From 2019-21, Max served as a presidential appointee to the Federal Service Impasses Panel within the Federal Labor Relations Authority. Members serve part-time and resolve contract negotiation disputes between federal agencies and labor unions. Prior to joining the Freedom Foundation in 2013, Max worked for the Washington Policy Center and interned with the Heritage Foundation. Max graduated magna cum laude from Whitworth University with a B.A. in political science. He lives in Washington state with his wife and son.

List of Published Works

Michael J. Reitz

Honorary Senior Fellow

*A Senior Fellow is a voluntary position.*

Michael J. Reitz is executive vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, an independent, nonprofit research and educational institute based in Midland, Michigan. Reitz oversees policy development, communications, fundraising and the Center’s strategic plan. Since joining the Mackinac Center in 2012, Reitz has overseen efforts to advance free-market recommendations in Michigan. The team’s victories include right-to-work legislation, pension reform for school employees, criminal justice reform and ground-breaking legislation to expand ridesharing in the state.

Before joining the Mackinac Center, Reitz was with the Freedom Foundation in Olympia, Washington, as its general counsel and director of labor policy. While there, he litigated for accurate elections, defended the First Amendment rights of individuals, fought against governmental abuses of power and wrote extensively on constitutional law. Reitz has overseen the Center’s effort to inform public employees of their rights through outreach, legal support and legislative affairs. In the past five years, the Center has educated more than 100,000 government workers about their First Amendment rights.

Reitz is president of the Michigan Coalition for Open Government, an organization that educates citizens about the importance of government transparency. He serves on the board of Americans for Fair Treatment, which offers resources and support to public sector union members. Reitz frequently comments on public policy issues and has been cited by the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Seattle Times and other publications. He is a co-author of “To Protect and Maintain Individual Rights,” a reference guide to the Declaration of Rights in the Washington Constitution. Reitz received his law degree from Oak Brook College of Law and Government Policy. He is a member of the Washington bar and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Austen Bannan

Honorary Senior Fellow

*A Senior Fellow is a voluntary position.*

Austen Bannan is Senior Policy Analyst of Employment at Americans for Prosperity. His previous experience includes as Senior Policy Analyst and Research Fellow at the Charles Koch Institute, a legislative staffer in the U.S. Congress, and Director of Outreach at the Ripon Society. He graduated from the University of Georgia with B.A.s in Political Science and Anthropology and lives with his wife and two children in Northern Virginia.

Austen focuses on employment barriers that undermine freedom of association and freedom of contract for workers and businesses alike, including in labor union policy, flexible work, employment regulations, and occupational licensing reform. In addition to providing regular testimony, public comments, and policy recommendations to government and policy leaders, his work is featured in local and national newspapers, talk radio, podcasts and policy research outlets. You can find more here at his AFP bio page.

Published Works by Austen Bannan:

BLOG: Biden Administration Rolls Back Union Transparency
June 7, 2021
Austen Bannan, Americans for Prosperity

VIDEO: Flex Your Independence: A Cautionary Tale from California
April 14, 2021, Hosted by Americans for Prosperity

VIDEO: PRO Act: How Big Labor Policies Threaten Employment For All
March 8, 2021, Hosted by FreedomWorks

VIDEO: Discussing the PRO Act with Americans for Prosperity-South Carolina
February 19, 2021, Hosted by Americans for Prosperity

PODCAST: Understanding the Dangerous Possibilities of the PRO Act
February 11, 2021, Insight to Action Podcast
Hosted by Americans for Prosperity

RADIO: How the PRO Act Will Hurt Independent Workers
February 12, 2021, The Andy Caldwell Show

OP-ED: California voters rejected restrictions on independent work, and your states should too
January 23, 2021, Business Insider
Austen Bannan, Americans for Prosperity

BLOG: It’s time to update union financial reporting requirements
December 22, 2020
Austen Bannan, Americans for Prosperity

BLOG: Proposed rule shines a light on growing importance of independent contracting
October 29, 2020
Austen Bannan, Americans for Prosperity

BLOG: DOL’s independent contractor rule reduces workplace uncertainty
September 28, 2020
Austen Bannan, Americans for Prosperity

OP-ED: Protecting independent opportunity for everyone in America
September 3, 2020, Washington Examiner
Austen Bannan, Americans for Prosperity