Henry Bayer

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Henry Bayer

Henry Bayer is an International Vice President of AFSCME.[1]based in Chicago.


A native of New Hampshire, he moved to Chicago in 1968 to teach in the Chicago Public Schools. He soon moved into the labor movement, though, accepting an education position with the Amalgamated Meatcutters Union before joining AFSCME.[2]

Socialist background

In the early 1970s Henry Bayer was an organizer for the Chicago Socialist Party USA and a member of the Young Peoples Socialist League National Executive Committee[3].

DSOC supporter

The original Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee publication was called Newsletter of the Democratic Left. Those listed as helping produce the October 1973 issue were David Bensman, Henry Bayer, Gretchen Donart, David Gaberman, Tom Kramer, David Kusnet, Jon Ratner, Ronnie Steinberg Ratner, Mark Schaeffer, Nancy Shier.[4]

Democratic Agenda

More than 1,200 people attended the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee initiated Democratic Agenda Conference held November 16-18, 1979, at the International Inn and Metropolitan AM Church in Washington 1 DC. The conference focused on "corporate power'; as the key barrier to "economic and political democracy," concepts many Democratic Agenda participants defined as "socialism.'

The Democratic Agenda meetings attempted to develop anti-corporate alternatives" through influencing the direction of the Democratic Party during the period leading to the July 1980 Democratic National Convention in New York.

A Democratic Agenda A Trade Union Breakfast to discuss "Responding to the Workplace Needs of Younger Workers," "Problems of Minority Workers," "Fighting the New Union Busters," and related problems featured as speakers Carl Shier, DSOC, chairman; Henry Bayer, AFSCME Area Director, Illinois, Joe Finkbeiner, president UAW Local l6l8 (Oldsmobile) ¡ Sam Meyers, president, UAW Local 259; and Joyce Miller, vice-president, Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union and president, Coalition of Labor Union Women.[5]

Citizen Action of Illinois

In 1997 Henry Bayer served on the board of directors of Citizen Action of Illinois.[6]

Debs Dinner

The Chicago Democratic Socialists of America organized 2001 Debs - Thomas - Harrington Dinner was held Friday, May 4th at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza in Chicago. The honorees were Kim Bobo and Henry Bayer. The featured speaker was Miguel del Valle. The MC for the evening was Carole Travis[7].

Memorial for Carl Shier

There was a memorial for Chicago Democratic Socialists of America leader Carl Shier at Weinstein Brothers in Wilmette on Friday, May 18. 2007, Despite the brief notice, hundreds attended. The current and past AFSCME Council 31 directors, Henry Bayer and Steve Culen, spoke. Deborah Meier and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky also shared their memories, as did two of Carl's nephews, Paul Blumberg and Dick Sard.[8]

Supporting Obama

In late 2007 several Illinois labor union officials-Tom Balanoff, Henry Bayer, Margaret Blackshere, Dennis Gannon and Henry Tamarin.

From PolitickerNV.com December 3rd 2007[9];

Ill. Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign held a conference call for Nevada reporters today to highlight Obama’s record of support both by and for organized labor. On the call were Tom Balanoff, president of the Illinois SEIU State Council and Local 1, Henry Bayer, executive director of the AFSCME Council 31, Margaret Blackshere, former president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, Dennis Gannon, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO and Henry Tamarin, president of UNITE HERE Local 1.
“He comes from us,” said Balanoff on Obama. “He understands our problems. We could count on Barack on all issues important to working families. Healthcare, general economic justice, jobs… Barack was there, not only there but oftentimes leading.”
The conference call came at a difficult time for Obama’s campaign in his effort to court organized labor in the state..."

In December 2007 Bayer's Illinois AFSCME came out in support of Obama[10].

The Illinois chapter of the country's major government-employees union broke with its national organization Saturday to endorse Barack Obama for president.
Nationally, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is backing Hillary Rodham Clinton. But the union's Illinois leaders decided to make their own endorsement.
It is an unusual step, but we've had a long relationship with Senator Obama, said Henry Bayer, executive director AFSCME Council 31. We've had a better opportunity to observe him up close than people in other parts of the country.
Some 400 union delegates meeting in Peoria voted unanimously to support Obama, an Illinois Democrat, AFSCME said.

Letter to McEntee

On January 4, 2008 several AFSCME leaders wrote to union president Gerald McEntee protesting that union resources had been used to oppose the candidacy of Barack Obama.[11]

Dear President McEntee:
We are writing to protest in the strongest terms the negative campaign that AFSCME is conducting against Barack Obama. We do not believe that such a wholesale assault on one of the great friends of our union was ever contemplated when the International Executive Board (IEB) made its decision to endorse Hillary Clinton...
We are calling on you to take whatever action that is within your legal purview to immediately end AFSCME's attack campaign against Sen. Obama. In the event that you are not able to legally compel these staff members to cease these actions, we are calling on you to immediately take action to discontinue such independent expenditures in order to ensure that no further attacks occur. And we also urge you to ensure that no funds are utilized to wage such "attack campaigns" among our own members.
In solidarity,
  • Ken Allen, International Vice-President, Oregon
  • Henry Bayer, International Vice-President, Illinois
  • Greg Devereux, International Vice-President, Washington
  • Sal Luciano, International Vice-President, Connecticut
  • Roberta Lynch, International Vice-President, Illinois
  • George Popyack, International Vice-President, California
  • Eliot Seide, International Vice-President, Minnesota

AFCSME Chicago

In the mid 1970s, Henry Bayer became an organizer with AFSCME in Chicago. Soon after, in 1976, he directed the successful campaign to win representation rights for 12,000 state para-professional and professional employees.[12]

He's been aggressively building the numbers and the influence of Council 31 ever since, assuming his position as Executive Director in 1993.

External links