Labor Activist Stuart Appelbaum Elected to NED Board of Directors

Stuart Appelbaum

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) Board of Directors has elected a new member, Stuart Appelbaum, to serve a three-year term. A longtime union leader, Mr. Appelbaum is president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which represents 100,000 workers in retail, food processing, and warehouse jobs nationwide, and a vice-president of the national AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States. He also serves on the AFL-CIO Executive Council, as co-chair of the AFL-CIO Executive Council Committee on International Affairs. (Read about new NED Board Members here.)

“We are excited to welcome Stuart Appelbaum to the NED Board of Directors,” said NED Chairman Kenneth Wollack. “Stuart is an icon of the American labor movement, a pillar of American democracy. The perspectives he will bring to the Board continue NED’s long history of bipartisan engagement of Republicans and Democrats, Business and Labor.”

In addition to his work for the RWDSU and AFL-CIO, Appelbaum serves as executive vice-president of the 1.3-million-member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, chair of the Democratic National Committee Labor Council, and president of the Jewish Labor Committee. He is president of UNI Global Commerce, a network of 160 unions and four million workers worldwide. Appelbaum is also known for his work within immigrant communities, leadership in faith-based alliance building, and community activism for LGBTIQ+ rights. (Learn more about Stuart Appelbaum here.)

“As a champion of worker rights who has traveled extensively visiting NED-supported Solidary Center programs around the world, Stuart Appelbaum shares a deep commitment to and understanding of NED’s mission,” said NED President and Chief Executive Officer Damon Wilson. “His leadership, international relationships, and expertise will help ensure that the NED continues to support the democratic aspirations of workers around the world.” 


The NED is an independent, nonprofit, grant-making foundation dedicated to the development and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. NED, along with four core institutes—the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, the Solidarity Center, and the Center for International Private Enterprise—provides assistance to strengthen democratic institutions and political processes; trade unions; free markets; and business associations, in addition to supporting a vibrant civil society that supports human rights,  independent media, and the rule of law. With an annual appropriation from Congress, NED funds more than 2,000 grants in 102 countries. NED’s grants program is augmented by the International Forum for Democratic Studies, a research center that publishes the Journal of Democracy, the World Movement for Democracy, and the Center for International Media Assistance.


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