Naomi Walker is vice president of the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that uses the power of its research on economic trends and on the impact of economic policies to advance reforms that serve working people, deliver racial justice, and guarantee gender equity. As EPI vice president, Walker builds and strengthens partnerships with allied groups to advance policy reforms that support collective bargaining; improve wages, benefits, and working conditions; and reduce racial and gender inequities. She also provides strategic guidance to EPI’s state and local research and policy work.
Walker joined EPI in 2018 as director of the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), a national network of almost 60 state-level policy research and advocacy organizations.
During her tenure at EARN, she significantly increased the size and scope of the network’s capacity to engage in worker, racial, and gender justice campaigns. Under Walker’s leadership, EARN launched two regional initiatives in the South and Midwest that bring together state and local research and policy organizations with people of color–led grassroots partners to co-lead economic justice initiatives and strengthen the progressive economic justice infrastructure at the state and local levels. In addition, she led the creation of a new Worker Power initiative focused on expanding the ability of working people to achieve justice through organizing, collective bargaining, and enacting state and local policies that ensure all workers have the freedom to join together in a union and gain a voice on the job.
Before joining EPI, Walker served as assistant to the president at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), where she coordinated AFSCME’s partnerships with allies and coalitions to build power for working families.
Prior to AFSCME, Walker served as director of state government relations and deputy director of the government affairs department for the AFL-CIO. There, she coordinated state issue campaigns on a variety of issues, including fighting so-called “right-to-work” legislation and other attacks on working families, and providing affordable health care for working families. Walker also served as assistant director of the AFL-CIO politics and field department, leading labor’s field campaign for the 2006 election cycle.
Walker received her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy Studies from Duke University.