Yasmina Moore is doing it for herself. But she’ll be helping a lot of other people in the process.
A candidate for the Master’s degree in Urban Studies, Yasmina says she enrolled at SLU “because I wanted to learn something. I love my job and I’m successful at it but I felt like my learning process had plateaued.” She laughed and added, “I was all gung-ho at first but then I suddenly remembered that I’m over 40, I have a full-time job and I’m a mom. So I had second thoughts. But finally I decided to just go for it.”
Continue reading Yasmina Moore Goes For It! →
It took a while—and support from her DC37 union educational benefits—but Marie Lodescar Francois is ready to raise her voice … and perhaps a few roofs.
“I believe in lifelong learning. And DC37 offers lifelong learning and professional development, free of charge,” said Marie. “Education can be life-changing. DC37 knows that.”
A native of Haiti, Marie moved to the U.S. in 1983. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from City College of New York, Marie took a job with NYC Transit. “They had a special program called Transit Corps of Engineers,” Marie said. They selected newly graduated college students with at least a B GPA. I guess Transit was looking for a new generation of high potential employees—“digital natives”—to bring new ideas to the organization.” Marie currently works in the Car Equipment Division involving New Technology Trains, which are all systematically controlled by software. Continue reading Marie Francois Finds Her Voice at SLU →
Cassandra Klewicki builds things. Train platforms. Bridges. And international labor organizations.
Cassy is a concrete carpenter with Local 290, and how she got there was quite a journey. “I’ve worked all over, in six states and 24 countries.” she said. “I worked at a coffee farm in Ecuador. I took seasonal jobs where you live in camps, and afterward I would just travel until I ran out of money. I did a lot of work in state and national parks, doing things like putting up and taking down barriers. That’s where I learned to use hand tools. I worked on hiking and ATV trails, I did some natural resource management—planting bushes and such—as well as doing environmental presentations for kids.”
What is she doing now? “When I moved back to New York I got into the union, with the help of a friend,” she said. “I’ve been with Local 290 for almost five years. It’s great because the carpenters’ union covers both the U.S. and Canada, so I can work in many different places and still pay into the same pension and benefits system. Most recently, especially since COVID, I’ve been working on-site at transportation venues like the LIRR.”
Continue reading Building Bridges with Cassy Klewicki →
“I love architecture. That’s why I work in construction. I want to marry my love for architecture and my career in public service with advocacy. That’s why I am at SLU.”
Eriam Lopez works for the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. She is also a mom with a 6-year-old and a 13-year-old that she is home-schooling. And she’s a lifelong learner with degrees from SUNY Farmingdale and CUNY’s John Jay College, and now she’s a candidate for the M.A. in Labor Studies from SLU. Oh … and she’s also a representative to SLU’s Student Union and Academic Governing Council, and graduate representative to the University Student Senate.
How does she manage to wear so many hats? “It’s been hectic,” she admitted, “The pandemic actually kind of simplified my life because I’m at home most of the time, and so is my partner. I don’t have to commute from Queens to my office or school and only travel to my construction sites as needed. I just jump on and off Zoom meetings most days,” Eriam laughed. Continue reading Building Blocks for a Career in Public Service … Eriam Lopez’s Story →
City & State’s Labor 40 Under 40 highlights an impressive array of rising stars in labor and this year the list includes two CUNY SLU students: Olando Marlon Charles who is pursuing a certificate in Labor Relations and Bradley Kolb, a student in the master’s in labor studies program.
Olando works as the CHOW program coordinator at the Restaurant Opportunities Center – providing free, in-depth training for jobs like waiting tables, bartending or managing a restaurant. In addition to pursuing his certificate at SLU, he is also a student in the certificate program in theology at the New York Theological Seminary.
Bradley Kolb started working for United Service Workers Union Local 74 as an organizer and has been advocating for worker’s rights since. He received his bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies at SLU and is currently finishing up his master’s degree in labor studies.
We’re so incredibly proud to call these rising leaders our students. You can read more about each of these remarkable students (and many more amazing rising leaders) HERE.
Tsering Lama knows something about story-telling. Perhaps that’s because she herself has quite a story to tell.
Tsering is a Tibetan refugee, born and raised in Nepal. She came to the U.S. in 2008 hoping to work in health care, and studied psychology while supporting herself as a domestic worker. “Basically, I’ve been working and going to school non-stop ever since I got here. I didn’t have any ideas about organizing at first. That came about because of my own experiences as a domestic worker, and what I witnessed about other workers’ situations. I’ve always cared about social justice, and organizing seemed like the next logical step. I joined Adhikaar as staff in 2016 and through my work, along with workshops like the Cornell ILR program, I was able to learn more about the labor movement.”
Adhikaar (a Nepalese word meaning “rights”) is a non-profit located in Queens that seeks to improve the lives of the Nepali-speaking community and make their voices heard, and to promote human rights and social justice for all. The organization has been influential in supporting legislation at the local, state, national and international levels to protect the rights of domestic workers, including the New York State Domestic Workers Bill of Rights and the International Domestic Workers’ Convention. “Historically, domestic workers have been excluded from unions,” Tsering said. “Even with the Fair Labor Standards Act, many are excluded. So it will take legislation as well as organizing to change things. Continue reading Behind the Camera with Tsering Lama: Documenting Domestic Workers’ Fight for Rights →