William Spriggs

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William Spriggs

William (Bill) Edward Spriggs is the chief economist at the AFL-CIO.[1]. Previously he was Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Labor since June 2009.

Previously he was Chair of the Department, and a professor, of Economics at Howard University in Washington, DC. [2]

He is a senior fellow with the Community Service Society of New York, and the Chair of the Healthcare Trust for UAW Retirees of the Ford Motor Company. Previously, he served as Executive Director of the National Urban League Institute for Opportunity and Equality.


William Spriggs holds a Ph.D. in Economics, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison 1984 and a BA, Williams College 1977[3].

Democratic Left article

Dem. Left, Sept./ Oct. 1993

William E. Springs is an economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. wrote an article for Democratic Socialists of America's Democratic Left, September/October 1993 issue "A New Day for Labor? - Confronting Old Questions and New Challenges".[4]

A new day may be possible for American labor in the 1990s. The Clinton administration has appointed a commission to review America's labor laws. John Dunlop, who served as Secretary of Labor during the Ford administration, heads the commission. Commission members include another former Secretary of Labor, Ray Marshall, and leading academics -- Richard Freeman, Paula Voos, Thomas Kochan, and William Gould. Gould, a professor of law at Stanford, is Clinton's pick to chair the NLRB, and would be the first African-American to serve as chair.
During the first session of the 103rd Congress, the House passed the Cesar Chavez Workplace Fairness Act to make the use of permanent replacements for striking workers illegal.The measure did not come before the Senate prior to Congress's summer break. President Clinton has pledged to sign the legislation if it passes.

That legislation, along with the nomination of Gould to head the NLRB, the signing of the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the promise of the Dunlop Commission, presents reason to hope that American labor may rebound from its present low point. After twelve years of hostility from Washington toward organized labor,there is now a chance for a more constructive era in labor-management relations.

Clinton administration service

Spriggs left the Economic Policy Institute in 1993, when during the Clinton Administration he worked in various agencies: he led the staff of the National Commission for Employment Policy, and worked at the Department of Commerce and at the Small Business Administration[5].

Positions held

Most recently, Bill Spriggs was at the Economic Policy Institute as senior fellow, having returned there in 2004. Before that, he was Executive Director of the National Urban League’s Institute for Opportunity and Equality, where among other duties he was editor of the State of Black America 1999, and led research on pay equity that won the NUL the 2001 Winn Newman Award from the National Committee on Pay Equity. As a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, Bill was the co-chair of the 2003 NASI conference that produced the volume, Strengthening Community: Social Insurance in a Diverse America.

Spriggs has served as a senior economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress. He is a past-board member and President of the National Economic Association—the professional organization of Black economists, currently serves on the policy board of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management and is a Board member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. He serves on the boards of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute, the National Employment Law Project and the National Advisory Council of Corporate Voices for Working Families.

Spriggs is a member of the Black Enterprise Magazine Board of Economists, and served on the 2002 Time Magazine Board of Economists. He taught six years at Norfolk State University (in Virginia), and two years at North Carolina A & T State University (in Greensboro), and has published in both academic and popular journals, and appeared on various television and radio news programs[6].

Congressional Black Caucus

In 2004, with several of his Washington-based civil rights advocate colleagues, Spriggs was awarded the Congressional Black Caucus Chairman’s Award by then CBC Chair Elijah Cummings. On behalf of the NUL, Bill gave congressional testimony on how various policies would affect the Black and low-income community, and participated in the UN World Conference Against Racism, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance[7].

Feb. 2009 EFCA statement

On February 24, 2009 Richard B. Freeman, Frank Levy and Lawrence Mishel, issued an Economic Policy Institute Employee Free Choice Act Statement on the Economic Policy Institute website, calling for the passage of the pro labor union Employee Free Choice Act.[8]

Statement endorsers included William Spriggs, Howard University.

Obama appointment

In June 2009 William Spriggs was nominated by the Obama administration for the position of Assisant Secretary for the Policy/Senior Advisor in the DOL.[9]

Economic Policy Institute

William Spriggs serves[10]on the Board of Directors of the Economic Policy Institute.