Tag Archives: CWA 1180

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Haley Shaffer Builds a Career in the Labor Movement (with a little help from the SLU network)

Haley Shaffer has been fighting for workers’ rights—including her own—for quite a while.  But she says she’s just getting started.

Haley moved from the Milwaukee area to New York City in 2014 for an internship at a non-profit organization, StoryCorps, and later took a staff position. “My coworkers and I were dealing with a toxic work environment—we were expected to give everything for little remuneration—so we started to organize in 2016,” Haley said. “And I found myself on the organizing committee.” After a challenging campaign, the staff union went public in 2017 under CWA 1180.

“That was my first experience with the labor movement,” Haley said. “I stayed at StoryCorps through 2018, through an NLRB hearing and several months on the bargaining committee, but after such a tough campaign I was ready to move on.”

After working at another non-profit with similar issues, Haley wanted to do something else. “I saw two of the staff organizers from CWA 1180 at a StoryCorps picket, and they told me I should think about coming back to the labor movement. One of those organizers, Leslie Fine, is a Union Semester graduate and he suggested I look at SLU’s programs. I was interested in developing my organizing skills, and I was really interested in making it my full-time job to work in the labor movement. So I enrolled in the Union Semester program in 2019. I got placed with United for Respect, which works on organizing employees at big corporations like Amazon and Target and WalMart. It was a great experience. Then David Unger suggested I go into 32BJ’s training program, and I did that for a semester, organizing residential building employees like porters and doormen.”

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Returning to Union Semester

Union Semester fall 2007 participants from left to right: Alex Bloom, UFT member and teacher at PS 8 in Brooklyn, Ryan Richardson works at New York Taxi worker Alliance, Sally Kim works at the UAW Global Organizing Initiative in Detroit, Emma Lang is the Board President of the Bread and Roses Heritage Festival in Lawrence, MA and Sarah Hughes is the Coordinator of the Union Semester Program at the Murphy Institute.

Sarah Hughes came on as the Union Semester Program Coordinator at the Murphy Institute in February.

“Tourists take pictures of the World Trade Center site; I go to press conferences there and meet rescue workers trying to get workers’ compensation. Tourists shop down Broadway or see the musicals; I march down Broadway with other union members to end the war in Iraq and meet striking stagehands.”

On my first day of work at the Murphy Institute as the coordinator of the Union Semester program, I found this newsletter clipping on my desk, with a picture of a much younger me at the top. It was an article I had written for the CWA 1180 Communique, where I had been placed as an intern when I participated in the Union Semester program in the fall of 2007.

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