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

President

F. Vincent Vernuccio brings over a decade of expertise in labor law and policy and is regarded as one of the leading experts in the field. As a labor policy consultant, he has advised a multitude of policy and grassroots organizations throughout the country. Vernuccio holds advisory positions with several organizations including senior fellow with the Mackinac Center, Virginia Works, and others. He is a graduate of the Ave Maria School of Law.

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 to the assistant secretary for administration and management in the Department of Labor. Currently, he is a well-respected and sought-after voice on labor policy panels throughout the country and in Washington, D.C. He has advised congressmen and state legislators on labor-related issues, and has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and Labor Policy.

Published Works by F. Vincent Vernuccio:

Op-ed: Sectoral bargaining is bad for workers and the American economy
April 17, 2021, The Hill
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy and I4AW

Explainer: What is the Protecting the Right to Organize Act?
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Institute for the American Worker
In partnership with the State Policy Network

Explainer: 12 Ways the PRO Act Will Hurt American Workers
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Institute for the American Worker
In partnership with the State Policy Network

Study: Sectoral Bargaining: One-Size-Fits All Collective Bargaining for Entire Industries
March 2021
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Institute for the American Worker

Video: Policy Debate: “Sectoral Bargaining: Promise of Peril?”
March 26, 2021
Institute for the American Worker and American Compass

Op-ed: Why Alexandria is afraid of Virginia’s unlimited public-sector bargaining
March 19, 2021, Washington Post
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Virginia Works

Study: What’s Ahead for Labor Policy?
January 18, 2021
Steve Delie, Workers for Opportunity, Mackinac Center for Public Policy
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy and I4AW

Op-ed: Biden should keep the new commonsense independent contractor rule
January 23, 2021, The Hill
Steve Delie, Workers for Opportunity, Mackinac Center for Public Policy
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Op-ed: “Protecting Democracy and the First Amendment for Florida Public Employees” (pg. 37)
The Journal (Fall 2020): The James Madison Institute
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy and James Madison Institute

Study: Collective bargaining transparency: A win for workers and taxpayers
November 9, 2020, Better Cities Project
Jason Mercier, Washington Policy Center
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Institute for the American Worker

VIDEO: Policy Gone Viral
November 10, 2020, James Madison Institute
Interview with F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Op-ed: Voluntary unionism is the answer, not one-size-fits-all national bargaining
October 23, 2020, Real Clear Markets
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

The Worker Flexibility and Small Business Protection Act is a ‘frowning sad face’ of a bill
October 10, 2020, The Hill
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Back to Business
October 8, 2020, Washington Examiner
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Op-ed: Thoughts on a “Yuge” Trump election agenda
July 29, 2020, Wall Street Journal
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Op-ed: Union front groups try to organize gig economies during pandemic
July 25, 2020, The American Spectator
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Institute for the American Worker

Explainer: Worker Centers- A Primer
June 2020
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Institute for the American Worker

Op-ed: Welcome to the “Hotel Seattle”
June 22, 2020, Wall Street Journal
Michael Saltsman, Employment Policies Institute
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Institute for the American Worker

Op-ed: More states look to protect the free speech of public employees
July 1, 2020, Washington Examiner
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Report: Labor Policy for COVID-19 and Beyond: Recommendations to get America back to work
June 30, 2020, The Heritage Foundation
Rachel Greszler, Heritage Foundation and contributions by F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Podcast: State labor reforms for public sector unions
June 23, 2020, American Legislative Exchange Council
Interview with F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Op-ed: Unions must let COVID-crunched workers keep their money
June 12, 2020, Washington Examiner
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Op-ed: West Virginia Supreme Court Decision could lead to national right to work
June 3, 2020, The American Spectator
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Op-ed: Put entrepreneurs, workers, and flexibility in next stimulus package
May 11, 2020, The Hill
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Backgrounder: Five pro-worker policies and proposals that can jumpstart the American economy amidst COVID-19
May 2020, Institute for the American Worker
F. Vincent Vernuccio, I4AW

Blog: Union provisions in the CARES Act are cause for concern
April 21, 2020, Mackinac.org
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Op-ed: We’ll need entrepreneurship and flexibility in the post-COVID economy
May 7, 2020, The Hill
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Op-ed: While Missouri seeks to free public employees, Illinois traps them with pro-union law
March 6, 2020, Chicago Tribune
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Podcast: Topic: Right to Work
April 2021, Center for Individual Freedom
Interview with F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Blog: Resigning from a union won’t affect seniority, tenure, pay and benefits
September 17, 2020, Mackinac.org
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Blog: Union handout in the Coronavirus Stimulus Act
March 25, 2020
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Blog: Keep federal COVID-19 package focused on the virus and its effects
March 23, 2020, Mackinac.org
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Op-ed: Don’t turn Virginia into California
February 11, 2020, The Washington Post
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Virginia Works

Op-ed: Bills protect employees’ right to quit their union
February 20, 2020, Tallahassee Democrat
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Op-ed: Unions still want to repeal the workers private ballot
November 6, 2019, The American Spectator
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Study: Protecting the Secret Ballot: The Dangers of Union Card Check
October 22, 2019
F. Vincent Vernuccio, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Mary Ellen Beatty

Communications Specialist

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.

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.

Nathan Mehrens

Honorary Senior Fellow

*A Senior Fellow is a voluntary position.*

Nathan Mehrens is a Washington, D.C. lawyer. He previously served in several senior positions in the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). From 2019-2021 he served as the Associate Deputy Secretary of Labor. In that position he managed regulatory and policy development for the Deputy Secretary. He reviewed all draft regulations and worked with the Department’s agencies to ensure that regulations were completed on schedule. During his tenure, final regulations were completed in the areas of wage and hour laws, employee benefits, federal contract compliance, health and safety, union financial transparency, and others. Mehrens served on the Department’s Regulatory Reform Task Force. He also managed day to day interactions with the Department’s three adjudicatory boards (Administrative Review Board, Benefits Review Board, and Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board) and the Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges. Mehrens participated in the President’s Management Council through the White House Office of Management and Budget. He also worked with the Department’s agencies in the areas of budget development, human resources, technology investments, and shared services. Reviewed and cleared all decision memos for the Secretary and Deputy Secretary. He also managed the Department’s responses to classified national security issues for the Office of the Secretary.

From 2017-2019 Mehrens served as DOL’s Acting Assistant Secretary for Policy and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy. In those positions he served as the Department’s Regulatory Policy Officer. He managed the Department’s regulatory and policy development process. He managed the career senior executives on the Policy Office staff, and oversaw the Department’s Chief Evaluation Office. Additionally, he managed interactions with components of the Executive Office of the President, including the Domestic Policy Council, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, and the White House Staff Secretary. He also managed the Department’s interactions with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. In 2017, he also served as Special Assistant to the Secretary. From 2009-2017, Mehrens served at Americans for Limited Government (ALG). He led ALG’s advocacy efforts, managed its operations, and served as the organization’s primary spokesman. He served as President of ALG’s foundation before leaving to join DOL.

Prior to his time at ALG Mehrens served, from 2006-2009, as a Special Assistant in the DOL’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. His prior work includes stints at Home School Legal Defense Association, and consulting on labor and employment issues.

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.

Trey Kovacs

Honorary Senior Fellow

*A Senior Fellow is a voluntary position.*

Trey Kovacs, as an author, analyst, and government official, is a proven leader of efforts to protect worker freedom, reduce harmful workplace rules and promote competition. Kovacs’ research and analysis have covered a wide range of labor policy issues that address National Labor Relations Board and National Mediation Board rules, wage and hour requirements, union financial transparency, and government unions. In addition, his work has been cited in federal rulemakings, Congressional reports and major publications.

As a policy analyst for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Kovacs testified on labor policy issues before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittees on Government Operations and Economic Opportunity. His popular commentary can be found in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and The Hill, among many other publications. His work has been cited by major publications including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Fox News, among many others. Most recently, Kovacs was a Special Assistant at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, where he focused on protecting union democracy and safeguarding union members’ assets.

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