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)
Deanna Nagle is a senior at Penn State University where she studies Labor Studies and Employee Relations. Over the past two years in USAS she worked to help rebuild the chapter at her school, along with successfully campaigned to get Penn State to cut their contract with Jansport and all other VF Corporation brands. Last year, she worked as a regional organizer and this year she serves as the International Solidarity Campaigns representative on the Coordinating committee. Deanna identifies a working class women of color and is excited to continue to win with USAS this year! In her free time she likes to dance and then dance some more.
Luke Gangler is in his first year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying sociology and education policy. Born in Madison, Luke has organized for local pro-worker candidates and social justice organizations, including USAS Local 1, the Student Labor Action Coalition (SLAC). Luke was motivated to become an organizer as a freshman in high school, when he took part in the “Wisconsin Uprising,” sparked when Scott Walker moved to decimate workers’ rights in Wisconsin. He has since organized to change the balance of power in Wisconsin, represented students on his local County Board and School Board, and has participated in a number of worker justice campaigns, including, most recently, the fight to end Bangladeshi deathtraps. When not organizing, Luke enjoys Thai food, spending time with his dog Rosie, and all things Wisconsin.
Katie Plank is a fourth year biology student who just transferred from American University to the University of Tennessee. As part of AU’s group, she has been involved in both campus worker justice and international solidarity campaigns, including a successful End Deathtraps campaign. This year she is excited to get the chance to get involved with another really awesome USAS group at UTK and learn more about organizing in the city where she grew up as well as a chance to help USAS grow on the national level as a member of the coordinating committee. Katie identifies as a neuroatypical queer woman and has also served as a Regional Organizer and a Disability Caucus Co-chair.
Sarahi Soto-Talavera grew up in El Paso, Texas. She is currently studying Sociology with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Sarahi joined USAS Local 18 in October 2013 and since then they won their anti-privatization campaign, Stop Shared Services. Sarahi identifies as a woman of color and is excited to continue organizing in Texas. She is looking forward to an amazing year of building student-worker power!
Maria Rodriguez – University of Southern California
JT Taylor – University of Tennessee, Knoxville
National Organizers (contact info)
Natalie Yoon graduated from the Ohio State University in 2013 where she studied International Relations and Korean. She joined Ohio State USAS in 2009 to work on the successful Just Pay It campaign that forced Nike to pay severance to 1,800 garment workers in Honduras. After that she helped lead the Kick Out Sodexo campaign in solidarity with campus food-service workers, culminating in a national wave of sit-ins and civil disobedience. The following year she helped launch the Buck the Cowboys campaign to prevent Ohio State from signing a monopoly apparel licensing contract with Dallas Cowboys Merchandising. After graduating, Natalie worked to launch a national student campaign against the Trans Pacific Partnership, and has also organized with the Ohio Student Association to build independent political power among young people on a local and state-wide level. Before returning to USAS, she worked as an organizer with the American Federation of Teachers to build power with adjunct and non-tenure track faculty across Ohio. Natalie is excited to back with USAS to support campus worker justice and student worker organizing.
Angeles Solis graduated from Whitworth University in 2013 where she studied Sociology and Political Peace Studies. Angeles founded USAS Local 50 in 2013 where their local led actions in the “Badidas” campaign, which eventually forced Adidas to pay millions in severance wages to garment workers in Indonesia. After graduating, Angeles worked as a union organizer for SEIU 775 where she organized fast food and retail workers in the Fight for $15. Following several citywide strikes, Seattle City Council approved a citywide wage increase. Not long after the victory, Angeles joined the Foundation for Healthy Generations as the statewide organizer mobilizing Community Health Workers (CHWs) & Promotores De Salud in professional development, advocacy efforts and the formation of a statewide CHW Association. In her free time, Angeles organizes with immigrant justice and racial equity efforts , attempts to cook, travels, and dances salsa. She identifies as a first generation U.S. Latina.
Andi Flores is currently a junior at the University of Texas at Austin. With a major in psychology, she’s been in USAS for a little over a year now. She is incredibly honored to be part of such an amazing and passionate team of organizers. And as a regional organizer, she is eager to build up the south as much as possible. She identifies as a working class, woman of color, and is originally from El Paso.
Ciara Malaugh is a proud First Gen Irish- American and junior at the University of Alabama studying majoring in Political Science and Psychology and minoring in French, with informal minors in vegan cupcake baking and the history of Lana del Rey. She has been involved with USAS since her Freshman year of college, helping run a tough campaign for her university to affiliate with the Workers Rights Consortium. Last year, she was a member of the Collective Liberation Committee as a Co- Chair of the Women’s Caucus. When not organizing, she enjoys discussing metaphysical and political rebellion, experimenting with homemade margaritas, studying foreign languages, and getting in Facebook arguments. She identifies as a neuroatypical woman. She is super excited to be an RO and a WRC Board Rep and insists that you do not hesitate to contact her with any questions you may have.
Lindsey Smith is a junior-ish at the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee. She began her studies in classical clarinet performance, but after taking a long hiatus and rediscovering herself as a passionate activist and organizer, she now studies Philosophy with an intent to go to law school, with the hope that she will be able to help change this patriarchal, imperialist state in which we live. She currently fights with the Progressive Student Alliance (USAS Local 68) — alongside workers, faith groups, and community — for a living wage in Tennessee, as well as the fight against police brutality and the privatization of education, among other campaigns. Lindsey defines herself as a sexually fluid, working class woman and takes the pronouns she/her. When activating self-care, Lindsey dances with a non-profit modern dance collective, Project: Motion, and she loves to spend time in the sun with her dog and her fellow USASers.
Sara Parolin is a second-year student at the University of Washington in Seattle. Sara was inspired to join USAS in the autumn of 2014 and continues to help her chapter in their ongoing campaign to kick Jansport off of the UW campus. Sara has also facilitated bootcamps, organized local actions at REI and The Children’s Place, and attended the 2015 USAS National Convention, including the action at the CAMEX trade show in Atlanta. Excited to begin her first year as a Regional Organizer in the Pacific Northwest, Sara is honored to help mobilize students and further the movement for workers’ rights.
Sivan Rosenthal is a junior at Rutgers studying Middle Eastern Studies and Public Policy. She joined USAS in her first year at school and since then has participated in a successful End Death Traps campaign, the ongoing 30% Sweat-Free Bookstore campaign, as well as building a student coalition on her campus. When she isn’t forcing her university to cut their contracts with global apparel giants, she can be found looking up pictures of dessert on the internet, painting, or on the next plane out of New Jersey.
Dominique Scott (pronouns: she, her, hers) is a native of Dallas, TX, currently residing in Oxford, MS. Dominique is currently a third year student at the University of Mississippi majoring in African American Studies and Sociology with a minor in Gender and Women Studies. Dominique is a recent addition to the USAS family as she established Local 121 and is serving as a Regional Organizer fighting for living wages for campus employees. Dominique identifies as a working class womanist who enjoys long days of Netflix, DIY projects, and spreading light through spoken word.
Sokona Diallo is a third year student at the Northeastern University studying Human Services and Communications. At NEU, she has worked on the Adjunct unionization campaign and contract fight efforts— in addition to supporting other local campaigns. She identifies as a crafty, Afrofuturistic, writer, social justice advocate and Black Feminist.
Jeff Uehlinger is a third year student at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and is majoring in Urban Planning. He is a member of USAS Local 15 and over the past year they successfully won their End Deathtraps Campaign to have UIC cut ties with VF Corporation. They were also part of a Campus Workers Students Coalition that fought alongside the UIC United Faculty union to establish a fair contract for faculty members. Jeff is a New Jersey native and loves his family and friends, spicy food, and hanging out with dogs. As a USAS Regional Organizer, Jeff is excited to organize alongside other Midwesterners and build solidarity within the student-labor movement.
Alyssia Osoria – City College of New York
Jada Young – Columbia University
Axel Gonzales – Philadelphia
Richard Lindayen – University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Luke Gangler – UW Madison (bio included in Coordinating Committee section)
Jenny Villegas – University of Southern California
Collective Liberation Caucus Co-Chairs
Aleena is a junior at Rutgers University studying Biology and History, ultimately aspiring to go to medical school and become a doctor. She joined USAS in her sophomore year and has participated in the on-going 30% Bookstore Campaign, while fighting against her University’s discriminatory library policies. She works closely with the University’s faculty union, working to strengthen the relationship between faculty, staff, and students. When she’s not sitting in (the President’s office) she’s eating out at her favorite local restaurant, Cinco de Mayo, indulging in yet another delicious burrito. Aleena identifies as a woman of color, smashing the patriarchy as often as she smashes her glasses.
Myrlinda Huff is a junior non-traditional transfer student from Fayetteville, Arkansas studying Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder. She ultimately hopes to become a nutritional genomics researcher. Myrlinda joined USAS local 303 in March 2015 after attending a worker speak-out featuring Kalpona Akter and Mahinur Begum who shared their experiences in the garment manufacturing industry in Bangladesh. A long-time believer that none of us is free until we’re all free, she wanted to join a movement working to end worker oppression and exploitation at the hands of greedy capitalists. Myrlinda is a Collective Liberation Co-Chair representing the People of Color Caucus. She’s thrilled to step into this role and is pumped about helping advance USAS’s work in Boulder, nationally, and globally. She enjoys hiking, cycling, yoga/meditation, reading, and learning American Sign Language. She identifies as a heterosexual, black woman and is 28 years old.
Shawn Reilly is a junior at Vanderbilt University studying Community and Education Studies They are the n Co-Chair for Transgender and Genderqueer caucus. On campus, they are involved with Vanderbilt Students of Nonviolence, United Students Against Sweatshops, and a collective of queer student activists. They have run and won Gender Inclusive Bathrooms and Housing campaigns, and are currently working on an Education Justice Campaign through USAS. They work as an intern with the Oasis Center in Nashville, Tennessee, working with the LGBT+ youth programs there. They enjoy working for a liberated future for all through their work with labor rights, gender equity, and public education advocacy, and hope to work to empower youth through education in the future.
Madeleine is a junior at the University of Alabama studying math and religion. They joined USAS in fall 2014. While at UA, they have been involved with the campaign to affiliate with the Workers Rights Consortium and have worked with regional environmental justice campaigns. They hope to let their skills and experiences as a queer, genderfluid, and neuroatypical gxrl in the south inform and strengthen their role as Disability Caucus Co-Chair. While not organizing, Madeleine finds time for high-waisted shorts shopping, watching cartoons, and sniffing out cool art, music, and poetry shows in the underbelly of Tuscaloosa.
Terrence Curry is a junior at the University of Alabama studying Accounting with a minor in German. Outside of school he loves to dance, got out with friends, and enjoy amazing shows on Netflix. Terrence joined USAS because of the friends he had in the group, and there was just no other group after his first National Conference in Austin, TX. Since then, Terrence has been working with UA’s Local 144 USAS group to get their school’s win to affiliating with the Worker Rights Consortium. He is excited to be a Queer Caucus co-chair this year, more excited to meet new people, successfully working on more campaigns, and hearing about everyone’s cool experiences. He identifies as a queer person of color (homo/gay) male and is 20 years old.
Rachel Mass is a second-year student at Kent State University, with a major in English and minors in Political Science and Writing. Last year, she helped start a USAS chapter at her school and served as the Collective Liberation chair in her local Coordinating Committee. She took part in her local chapter’s first official campaign—working in solidarity with the AFSCME union to demand a living wage for campus workers—as well as several other social justice projects. She is originally from Youngstown, Ohio and identifies as a neuroatypical, asexual white woman, and a member of the working class. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, watching movies, and petting dogs.
Anu Sharma – Virginia Tech
Johnson Pham – University of California Riverside
Franchesca Caraballo University of Texas Austin
Esmerelda Huerta – Georgetown
Amy – University of Tennessee Knoxville
Haleigh Duncan – Macalester College
Worker Rights Consortium Board Representatives
Lorelei Christie, now a sophomore at the University of Southern California, was born and raised in Virginia. She is majoring in Philosophy, Politics, & Law, with minors in Forensics & Criminality and Urban Policy & Planning. Lorelei joined her school’s USAS chapter, SCALE, during her first week at USC and discovered a beautifully diverse group of passionate individuals who quickly proved to her that students can make a huge difference in the daunting world of labor exploitation. She’s had the pleasure of working on an End Deathtraps campaign at USC for two semesters. She’s excited to join USAS’ incredible organizers in building an unstoppable movement that amplifies student and worker voices and successfully fights back against corporate greed.
Sofia Vera is a senior at Penn State University majoring in Labor Studies and Employment Relations. She was born in Venezuela and moved to the United States when she was 13 years old. After getting involved with USAS last year, she was inspired by stories of past and current USAS chapters all over the country. She participated in her chapter’s successful campaign against VF and is excited to start organizing and winning new campaigns. After attending a trip to the Dominican Republic with Solidarity Ignite, her passion for social justice grew tremendously. She hopes to dedicate the majority of her life collaborating in the social justice movement, animal’s rights movement, Venezuelan politics…
Emilie Woodd is a second year student at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is currently majoring in Sociology and planning on minoring in Labor Studies. Emilie joined USAS in fall of 2015, and has since participated in the End Deathtraps Campaign, as well as a campaign to raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars for all UW employees. She was also recently involved in a successful campaign to restructure the University of Washington’s licensing committee in order to include more student and faculty voices. Emilie loves animals, especially cats, and also enjoys hiking, backpacking, yoga, and Netflix.
Michael Ferrer – Cornell University
Ciara Malaugh – University of Alabama (Ciara’s bio is included in the Regional Organizer section)