Photo: Dale Robbins

Bill Fletcher, Jr.

Activist and Writer

Bill Fletcher, Jr. was involved in activism as early as high school, and carries that torch today as an internationally-recognized racial justice and labor activist. After graduating from Harvard, Fletcher took a job as a shipyard welder as a way into the labor movement.  There he became involved in issues such as union democracy, health and safety, and racial justice.

Fletcher involved himself in the desegregation of the building trades in Boston, and later was a staff member in various unions including District 65-United Auto Workers, the Service Employees International Union, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, and the national AFL-CIO. Fletcher served as Education Director for the AFL-CIO and, eventually, Assistant to the President. A visiting professor at Brooklyn College-CUNY, Fletcher was also president of TransAfrica Forum, a non-profit advocacy, research, and education center focused on justice for the African world.

During his prolific writing career, Fletcher co-authored The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1921; and Solidarity Divided. His most recent book, “They’re Bankrupting Us!”: And 20 Other Myths about Unions, will be published by Beacon Press this August.