About Us

Formed in 1997, United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) is a grassroots organization of youth and students who believe that a powerful and dynamic labor movement will ensure greater justice for all people. We use our unique roles of students as consumers, workers, and members of the campus community to win victories that set precedents in the struggle for self-determination of working people everywhere, particularly campus workers and garment workers who make collegiate licensed apparel.

National Student Coordinating Committee (contact info)

 Mary Yanik is a first year student at Yale Law School.  She graduated last year from University of Maryland, College Park, where she studied chemistry and political science.  She was involved in the USAS affiliate at Maryland, Feminism Without Borders, for four years, waging campus campaigns in support of unions in the DC area and all over the world.  She has previously worked for USAS as a regional organizer, worked for SEIU 32BJ organizing food service workers,  and has served on the Board of the Worker Rights Consortium for two years.  She has visited factories and the union leaders that are organizing them in the Dominican Republic and Bangladesh.  She grew up in a small town in Kansas and identifies as a white woman that is 22 years old.

 Emalee Thitthavong is a third-year student double majoring in International Affairs and Economics at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. She was introduced to USAS through affiliate group Progressive Student Alliance during their living wage campaign with janitorial staff in 2010. She participated in a student delegation to visit workers of the Alta Gracia factory in the Dominican Republic, and upon her return became impassioned about ISC garment solidarity campaign work on campus ever since. When she’s not fighting corporate greed, you can find her eating her way through Boston and leaving dance parties in her wake. Emalee identifies as a straight, working class woman of color who is 20 years old.
Casey Sweeney is a junior studying Industrial Labor Relations at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. She first got involved in USAS her freshman year through the Rein in Russell and Nike Just Pay It campaigns in solidarity with garment workers producing Cornell apparel, and she’s been organizing for student-worker power on campus and throughout the world ever since!! Casey is super excited to be a member of the Coordinating Committee and Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus in the Collective Liberation Subcommittee this year! She also can’t wait to continue to work with students in the Northeast as a Regional Organizer to connect the kick-ass work that is being done throughout the region and to build up our network, especially in upstate NY! She identifies as a mixed-race/woman of color and is 19 years old.
 Sarah Hirsch is a second year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studies  History and Economics. She joined UNC’s USAS affiliate, Student Action with Workers, over  three years ago and has been working on CCSC and ISC campaigns ever since. She has done work  with Iraq Veterans Against the War, interned with Student Action with Farmworkers, and is a  member of the NAACP. She identifies as a queer white woman and  comes from a professional-class background and is 21 years old.
Morgan Currier is Junior at the University of Washington in Seattle studying History and Law, Societies, and Justice. She’s been a member of USAS and stomping on corporate greed since 200,9 helping to organize for the Nike campaign on her campus. Since then, she’s been spreading union-made Alta Gracia apparel like wildfire and has been organizing students around CCSC campaigns. Morgan is so excited to be on the WRC board and a member of the coordinating committee this year. Morgan identifies as a straight, white woman and is 20 years old.   

 

 

National Organizers (contact info)

 Vicko Alvarez came on staff July 2010 as co-coordinater of Campus Worker Solidarity Campaigns. She attended the University of Chicago where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Latin American Studies and was involved with the UofC USAS affiliate, Students Organizing United with Labor (SOUL). While in SOUL she helped organize fair contract campaigns for campus clerical, maintenance, janitorial and dining hall workers and helped to launch the Just Pay It! campaign at the UofC against Nike near the closing of her senior year. Vicko was also an active member of MEChA de UofC where she facilitated MEChA’s involvement with the Coaltion of Immokalee Workers’ Dine with Dignity campaign against Aramark. In addition to her labor organizing work,Vicko held a three year position as a primary school teacher’s assistant in the South Side of Chicago and engaged in local and national efforts pushing for equal access to higher education for undocumented youth. She identifies as a working class, woman of color and is 23 years old.
Teresa Cheng began as National Organizer for USAS in 2010, and she first got involved in the organization in 2005 as an undergraduate at the University of Southern California. Teresa was active in student-labor organizing at USC, supporting workers that make Trojan Apparel by running a campaign and staging a successful sit-in to get the university to affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium and to adopt the Designated Suppliers Program. Her international experience includes supporting worker rights organizations in Hong Kong as a USAS international intern and researching women’s civic engagement throughout Nicaragua. In Los Angeles, she supported local campaigns, most recently organizing with the American Federation of Teachers to train community college students in grassroots campaigning and legislative advocacy against California budget cuts. Teresa also supported community engaged research on youth of color organizing at the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE). Teresa identifies as a woman of color and is 24 years old.
 George Robertson started work as a National Organizer in 2011 after receiving a Bachelor’s of Arts in History from the University of Washington. While at the UW, George helped organize UW USAS’ campaigns in solidarity with workers who make Husky apparel, successfully forcing Nike to pay workers $2 million in unpaid severance, and forcing Russell Athletic to sign an historic agreement to respect workers right to organize in Honduras. He also spent a year representing USAS on the governing board of the Worker Rights Consortium. After graduating, George was involved in several local labor and community struggles in Seattle while working for SEIU Local 925 to organize childcare, K-12 and campus workers. Originally from Australia, George is a 25 year-old white guy from a professional class background.

Regional Organizers

Marcos Perez is currently attending Los Angeles Valley College, where he is majoring in Political Science. Since 2009, he has worked with LAVC’s Political Action Coalition as a student intern with the American Federation of Teachers to fight against budget cuts and fee increases at the California Community Colleges. He has also worked with UNITE HERE and the CLEAN Carwash Campaign as one of the AFL-CIO Union Summer Interns for Los Angeles in 2010. He identifies as a working class, person of color, is 22 years old, and is thrilled to be an RO for LA!
 Tim Carlson is a senior at Santa Clara University, studying Sociology and Environmental Studies.  He has been involved in student labor organizing for the past few years, and is very excited to be a regional organizer for the San Francisco Bay Area.  He identifies as a working class white male.
Claire Lewis is a third year International Affairs and Economics major at Northeastern University. She is proud and excited to be serving as a Regional Organizer and as the Ladies’ Caucus co-chair! As a member of her school’s USAS affiliate, Claire has campaigned for Worker Rights Consortium affiliation and continues to organize to support campus workers. She is 21 years old and identifies as a woman from a professional class background.
 Terasia Bradford is a third year at Ohio State University, and a double major in French and Sociology. After getting involved with USAS during her freshman year, Terasia has spent the last year fighting the corporate greed of companies like Sodexo, and Silverstar Merchandising. Amidst the smog of corporate greed Terasia has been able to find the light while working with students on campus to hold corporations accountable for their treament of workers, and standing up against corrupt administrators. Terasia is excited to spend the next year beating back the corporate attack!Terasia is also a member of the Coordinating Committee and Working Class Caucus Co Chair
Jonah Zinn has been actively campaigning for student and worker rights his entire college career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He has participated in both the successful Nike and Russell campaigns as well as many campus worker solidarity campaigns.
 Maggie Russolelo is a senior at the College of William and Mary, where she has been fighting alongside campus workers in their 10-year struggle for a living wage. She helped to organize a Living Wage Coalition of students, workers, faculty, and community members, and a sit-in inside of President Taylor Reveley’s office, where she and four other students were arrested. She majors in “Literary and Cultural Studies” — a mix of Women’s Studies, Black Studies, and Sociology. She identifies as a queer woman from a working class family, and is super excited to be the Southeast Regional Organizer and a Queer Caucus Co-Chair for USAS. She plans to end her senior year with a bang, winning living wages for all of W&M’s workers, keeping sweatshop apparel off of VA campuses, and building the student and worker movement in the historic south.
Ann Levie is a junior at the University of Maryland–College Park studying Government and Politics. She got involved in campus workers’ campaigns by attending a forum held by Feminism without Borders with the Daycon workers and continued to work on this campaign involving the University contract with Daycon, which locked out its workers and to this day has violated NLRB rulings. This year, she is working with Justice at Maryland on a campaign for dignity for the campus workers and is excited to be joining USAS this fall to support fellow campaigns around the nation.

Collective Liberation Caucus Co-Chairs

 Billy ‘Lapu Lapu’ Yates is a third year Economics and International Relations student at the University of Texas with a focus on transnational labor solidarity. The son of a formerly undocumented immigrant from the Philippines and a US Army veteran, Billy hopes to use his experiences to help bridge cultures and continents to build a united labor movement. When not organizing, studying or working, Billy loves to run, go camping, eat desserts and be outside. Billy identifies as a queer, mixed race/person of color and is 20 years old.
Cristina Lor is in her third year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an undecided major and has been a member of the Student Labor Action Coalition (SLAC) since Fall of 2010. As a member of SLAC, Cristina has been organizing alongside local unions like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) 171 and the Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA) to defend Wisconsin against regressive policies that had been implemented by Wisconsin’s newest Governor, Scott Walker. Although this was her first year jumping into a life of activism, Cristina has already worked with the local non-profit organization, Freedom Inc. to raise awareness about the new Wisconsin policies to Hmong families in the community. In addition, Cristina began working to help organize the immigrants in the community and implementing social justice courses in the college prep program that she works for part-time, Information Technology Academy, a program for underprivileged, low-income minorities that aims to get into UW-Madison. She is the People of Color Co-Chair and identifies as a low-income person of color and is 20 years old.

 Natalie Yoon is a third year at Ohio State University studying Women’s Studies and  International Relations. She has been raising hell at OSU with USAS Student Worker Action  Group since her freshman year, working on the Nike campaign and to Kick Out Sodexo.  She’s also  involved in the ethnic minority community on campus, founding OSU’s first mixed race student  organization.  She is proud to be a woman of multiple colors.
Nate Funkhouser is a junior at Santa Clara University and studies Political Science and Latin American Studies. He is in his third year of working with Labor Action Committee, Santa Clara’s USAS affiliate, focusing a lot on on-campus worker campaigns, as well as local and international solidarity projects including FLA disaffiliation, Student Farmworker Alliance actions at Trader Joe’s, and Bon Appétit food workers’ rights disputes. This is his first year as a part of USAS National and he is pumped about it. Nate is a white kid from the Pacific Northwest and identifies as a gay.

 

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