Barbara Bailey

In December 2023 the New York City Labor Chorus lost its co-founder and long-time president, Barbara Bailey, who gave so much of herself to the chorus, combining her love of music with her dedication to the labor movement. Barbara was a career civil servant, working in both city and federal government positions, and she served as a senior shop steward while working for the NYPD and as a member of the executive board of the Communication Workers of America. In 1991, Barbara and her fellow “founding mothers,” Bobbie Rabinowitz and Laura Friedman, started the Labor Chorus to preserve the labor movement’s rich history while provide ongoing inspiration to workers in the U.S. and beyond. Bobbie and Laura moved on, but Barbara remained steadfast in her commitment to the chorus until the time of her death.


"The care and love Barbara exhibited for each and every member of the New York City Labor Chorus was a reflection of her extraordinary leadership and dedication to NYCLC and the labor movement. I will always remember her beautiful voice and joyous expression when rehearsing and performing with the Labor Chorus. Her memory will live on through each NYCLC member and will be a guiding light."
Jana Ballard
Music Director
"To me, “founding mother” so well describes what Barbara Bailey epitomized: guide, nurturer, visionary. I personally will always remember her very caring and encouraging spirit. I’m saddened that Barbara is no longer with us physically, but I’m grateful to have known and worked with her. Her life has been a blessing; may her memory be also."
Dennis Nelson
"Barbara, the perpetual labor organizer. The September 2023 Labor Day Parade in New York City showed Barbara's great love of labor, unions, and the New York City Labor Chorus. [Two months before her passing] Barbara's organizing skills were so strong that her mind allowed her weakened body to walk the entire length of the parade. What Barbara could no longer do here on Earth; she is now doing in Heaven--SINGING AND ORGANIZING!"
Betty L Reid
Treasurer, chorus member
"I met Barbara in 1993 when I joined the NYC Labor Chorus. For the next 30 years we sang together, travelled together and shared daily administration of the Chorus, I never ceased being in awe of her leadership style-- always loving and supportive, soft-spoken and thoughtful, remembering every detail and ready to take on any task. When the other two founding mothers, Bobbie Rabinowitz and Laura Friedman, left the chorus, Barbara became the heart of our leadership team, and she carried that role with grace. She thought of the chorus every day. Barbara Bailey, Presente! "
Bobby Greenberg
Vice-President, chorus member
"Although there were two other wonderful founding mothers of this chorus (Bobby Rabinowits and Laura Friedman) it was Barbara who was the guiding presence for the next 31 years as the chorus grew in international standing, performing in Sweden, Wales, Cuba and Puerto Rico, returning just as the COVID virus started locking us down. Her voice and her spirit carried us through, and will continue to inspire us in the struggles ahead."
Susan Zugaib
Chorus member