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Champion of workers, Kathryn Higgins, selected as chair of Fair Labor Association board

The Fair Labor Association (FLA) today announced the selection of Kathryn “Kitty” Higgins as Chair of its Board of Directors. Ms. Higgins joins the FLA Board with over four decades’ experience in the public and private sectors.

Ms. Higgins first joined the U.S. Department of Labor in 1969, became Chief of Staff to Secretary of Labor Robert Reich in 1993, and was named Deputy Secretary of Labor in 1997. In the latter role, she helped direct an initiative to expand pension benefits for workers; the development of an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ergonomics standard; the revision of OSHA’s cooperative compliance program; and initiatives to assist workers impacted by trade and other economic dislocations. She served at the White House as Assistant to President Clinton and Secretary of the Cabinet. Earlier in her career, she served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Sander Levin, as Minority Staff Director to the late Senator Edward Kennedy for the Labor and Human Resources Committee, and on the Domestic Policy Staff for President Carter.

“Kitty’s long and distinguished career has been characterized by a commitment to public service and workers’ rights,” said FLA Board member and Acting Chair Bob Durkee. “Her experience working with stakeholders from many sectors and her proven leadership skills make her an excellent choice to chair the FLA Board at a time when the FLA is enhancing its programs and expanding its impact.”

Ms. Higgins has served in several other positions, including as vice president for public policy at the National Trust for Historic Preservation; vice chair of the Presidential Council on U.S. Coast Guard Roles and Missions; and as a member of the National Transportation Safety Board.

“I’ve watched FLA grow over the years from a White House initiative to end sweatshop labor into an incredibly effective global organization that brings together leaders from diverse constituencies in order to make a real difference in workers’ lives,” Ms. Higgins said. “I look forward to working with FLA as it continues to grow and have an even greater impact across the globe.”

Ms. Higgins begins her three-year term on April 1. In addition to an independent chair, the 19-member FLA Board includes six representatives each from participating companies, NGOs and universities.


The mission of the Fair Labor Association (FLA) is to combine the efforts of industry, colleges and universities, and civil society organizations to protect workers’ rights and improve working conditions worldwide by promoting adherence to international labor standards. FLA conducts independent monitoring and verification to ensure that the FLA’s Workplace Standards are upheld where FLA members source their products.

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