Speaker Biographies

How We Organize, How We Win: State-Level Action to Gain Labor Rights and Build Worker Power


Valerie Collins: Attorney, Towards Justice 

Valerie came to Towards Justice in April 2020 from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), where she was an attorney in the Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Branch from 2014-2020. While at the NLRB, Valerie briefed dozens of cases in United States Courts of Appeals and presented oral arguments in the Second, Third, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Tenth, and DC Circuits. 

Prior to the NLRB, Valerie was a litigation associate at the international law firm Jones Day. She also served as a law clerk to then-Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and Judge Andre Davis on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Valerie attended Howard University School of Law, where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Howard Law Journal. Prior to law school, Valerie was a press officer at Public Citizen. Valerie is a graduate of American University.  

Ed Muir: Deputy Director Research & Strategic Initiatives, American Federation of Teachers 

Ed Muir directs the center in the AFT Research and Strategic Initiatives Department that is responsible for supporting state affiliates on legislative policy issues.  He has been at AFT since 1995. He holds a doctorate in politics from New York University and has taught there, at CUNY and the George Washington University.  He is formerly a New York City public school teacher. He is a former member of the board of the American Education Finance Association. He is a coauthor of the US Department of Education’s national charter school finance study.  His research has appeared in the Journal of Education Finance, Education Considerations, Public Health Reports and other scholarly publications. 

Aprils Sims: Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO 

April Sims was elected Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO in 2018. She is the first woman of color and first Black person elected as a WSLC executive officer. Sims firmly believes in the power of working people organizing together, and has dedicated her working life to affirming that power.