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)
AILEEN BAZAN is a native of Rio Grande City, Texas currently living in Austin, Texas. There she attends The University of Texas at Austin as a third year majoring in Government, Mexican American Latina/o Studies, and History. On campus, she helps organize to defend the rights of workers and immigrants by working with community organizations like Unite Here Local 23, Fight for 15, and Grassroots Leadership. She credits her mom and late grandmother for her passion towards defending others. Aileen identifies as a working class Chicana Tejana who enjoys staying up late watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and planning the spread of USAS throughout the Lone Star State.
JESSICA DAMPIER is a 4th year student at Northeastern University who has been organizing with USAS Local 115 since her freshman year. She has worked on successful campaigns to cut Northeastern’s contract with Nike and win a living wage for campus dining hall workers. Jess is particularly interested in the intersections of the labor movement with other movements for liberation, and also organizes for accessible mental health care services on college campuses. Outside of organizing, she can be found going to concerts and/or ranting about the importance of radical softness.
MORGAN BENNETT (they/them, he/him) lives in Austin, Texas, and attends the University of Texas. They are a sophomore majoring in Radio-Television-Film. They joined USAS in Fall 2017 after coming across the organization by chance and were excited to get into hands-on organizing centering around workers’ rights. Their other interests politically include anti-racist work and a queer liberation.
SABINA SAFIA WILDMAN (she/her/hers) is a senior Sociology major at University of California Santa Cruz. She grew up in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA, in a mixed race and mixed religious family, and she identifies as a queer, multiracial, Muslim, 1.5 generation, survivor, neuro-divergent, person. Her privileged identities are that I’m a half-white, white- and straight-passing, cis-gender, middle-class, US-born, able-bodied, English speaker, college student. She was introduced to USAS at the UC-wide Student Labor Organizing Conference (SLOC) in Fall 2017 where she learned many organizing skills that she is continuing to build on! She became a student intern with the UC-wide service and patient-care workers union, AFSCME 3299 where she was inspired by her boss Joseph Williams, and by Troy Neves from USAS to begin building a campus organization dedicated to building student power with workers around issues of labor justice. Using their guidance and the resources from AFSCME 3299, she began to work with other passionate students to build a student organization known as the Worker Student Solidarity Coalition (WSSC) in Winter 2018. Seeing the suffering that workers go through every day, seeing the beautiful power that workers and students build together, and feeling a dedication to justice, Sabina feels it is a necessity for students to use their privileges as students attending college and work with workers to visiblize the struggles and needs of those most marginalized by the racist, violent, corporate-like university institution. WSSC is still working to demand AFSCME 3299 workers get a fair contract and it’s been almost 2 years now! Sabina is excited to get WSSC more connected with USAS this year, and is happy to be passing on what she has been so blessed to have learned to the future WSSC and USAS students.
STEPH ROUNTREE is a junior at New York University studying the intersections between digital communication, colonial theory, and conceptions of justice with a minor in Web Development and a member of NYU’s Student Labor Action Movement USAS Local #44. Since joining SLAM as a first year, she has worked alongside her fellow organizers to campaign for student representation on NYU’s board of trustees and overall financial transparency, as well as foster campus-wide dialogue on student debt, and is excited to contribute to the success of USAS and its local chapters through her new position. Outside of organizing, she enjoys reading, walking around the city, and inserting her hometown of Baltimore into every conversation.
TAIA McAFEE (she/hers) is a Jackson, Mississippi native currently residing in Oxford, Mississippi for school. She’s a working class queer, black woman that works to make her campus and Mississippi as a whole a safer place for black and queer folks. When she started at the University of Mississippi, she found and fell in love with USAS at first sight during her local, SASI’s (121) recruit for the Nissan workers’ March on Mississippi. As a regional organizer for USAS last year she focused on bringing more black students from Mississippi into our fight and is working on getting more USAS chapters started at Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs). Outside of organizing, she’s a huge kpop fan and spends a lot (read: too much) of her time in fandom twitter.
YVONNE NGUYEN (she, her, hers/ they, them, theirs) is a senior at Villanova University majoring in Peace & Justice and minoring in Theology. From the working class community in Bridgeport, Connecticut, she identifies as a first-generation college student, first-generation Vietnamese-American, and queer person. She is currently a student organizer with the Villanova Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM; USAS Local #75) where they won their Nike campaign this past Spring semester after four semesters of organizing. For the summer of 2018, she will be interning with AFSCME Council 5 as a Union Scholar. Outside of being a leader within USAS, Yvonne is/was also a Gilman Scholar, Fulbright Summer Institute Fellow, Insight into Diversity Global Engagement Scholar, and Truman Scholarship Finalist. She is excited to continue her journey as a member on the ISC committee! In her free time, she enjoys dancing, laughing, juggling, and watching food-related documentaries.
National Organizers (contact info)
TROY NEVES was born and raised in Newtown, CT before attending Northeastern University in Boston, MA, where he studied Cultural Anthropology and Sociology. As a student at Northeastern, Troy joined the Progressive Student Alliance (USAS Local 115) in 2013 and participated in the ‘Badidas’ campaign that led to Northeastern successfully cutting ties with Adidas. For the following two years, Troy was a Regional Organizer, building alongside students across the Greater Boston area and supporting adjunct faculty at Northeastern in their fight for a union and a fair contract. In 2015, Troy interned with the California Nurses Association – National Nurses United in Oakland, CA, building student support for the Robin Hood Tax Campaign and organizing with the Campaign for a Healthy California. Troy identifies as a queer, mixed race, and Arab American person.
ANA JIMENEZ is a recent graduate of Cornell University where she studied Government and History. She was born and raised in the Valley of Ashes, aka, Corona, Queens, New York. Her inspiration to fight for workers rights and to organize derives from her working-class upbringing. At Cornell, Ana organized with the Cornell Organization for Labor Action (COLA), USAS Local 3, that successfully ran and won the Nike Campaign in 2017. She was a Union Summer intern with the AFL-CIO, where she spent a summer organizing carwash workers in New York City. In 2016, Ana was the Chair[wo]man of the Board of the Workers Rights Consortium and then served a consecutive term from 2017-2018. During her senior year, she was also on the Coordinating Committee. When not envisioning how to build a stronger international labor movement, she is busy tuning into her Leo rising sign, journaling, and cooking. Ana identifies as a working class, first generation, and proud Boricua and Colombian.
SAMEERAH AHMAD joined Purdue University’s USAS chapter in 2006 as part of the Designated Suppliers Program campaign. She took on the roles of USAS Midwest Regional Organizer, Coordinating Committee member, and International Intern with C.CAWDU in Cambodia. After earning her B.A. in Anthropology and Art History, Sameerah organized with the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America. She is inspired by the worker center and worker cooperative movements and served as the Executive Director of the Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center. Sameerah is passionate about storytelling and strategic communications and believes that at the root of transforming individuals and society is the ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences. She cannot wait to help make sure USAS thrives for decades to come. Sameerah holds a M.S. in Labor Studies from the UMass Labor Center and a M.A. in Public Relations and Advertising from DePaul University. She identifies as a queer mixed race Muslim woman of color from a working class Palestinian American family and is devoted to promoting radical self-care, healing, and love throughout our movements.
AILEEN BAZAN (See Aileen’s bio above)
GABE MIELKE (he/him/his) is a junior at Georgetown University in the School of Foreign Service majoring in International History and minoring in Arabic. He’s a proud member of USAS Local # 9, which has recently come off of victories in the fight against Nike’s sweatshop practices as well as a graduate student unionization campaign. Outside of campus he is active in local anti-racist, anti-capitalist organizing efforts. Originally a resident of Cleveland, Ohio, he enjoys reading and talking about labor history, political philosophy, and movies. He spends his free time cooking, baking, and disseminating radical propaganda and hopes to continue to do so the rest of his life. He’s extremely excited to be a Regional Organizer and looks forward to connecting campus labor organizing efforts across the DMV!
MADELINE OCHABILLO (She/Hers), from Elkins Park, Pa, is a sophomore at Villanova University. Her passion for human rights drives her as a student organizer in Villanova’s USAS chapter, Villanova University Student Labor Action Movement (VU SLAM). During her first year with USAS, she worked as a Regional Organizer in the Philadelphia area and organized alongside her local to win the Nike Campaign at Villanova. Her first year with USAS has allowed her to recognize her power as an organizer, and she hopes to help others do so as well! With a major in education and minor in peace and justice, she plans to combine her love for working with others and her calling to advocate for justice to work with the youth to build a more equal and just future.
LEIGHA ELLIS (“she” series) is an Integrated Marketing Communications major at the University of Mississippi. She was first introduced to USAS in the fall of 2016, and officially joined USAS/SASI local 121 in the fall of 2017. Her first major action as an aspiring labor rights activist was with USAS at the 2018 national conference, participating in the Fight for 15 march at Rutgers University. Beginning this fall, Leigha will also serve as the President for the UM chapter of the NAACP for the 2018-19 academic year. After graduating, she plans to continue pursuing a career path in the labor/social movement organization field. Her biggest goals are to live and work in New York City, and to organize and affect change nationally and globally. The passionate, capable, show stopping young women she credits with her inspiration for both labor and civil rights organizing are Angeles Solis, Dominique Garrett-Scott, Tysianna Marino, Jaz Brisack, and Taia McAfee.
Collective Liberation Caucus Co-Chairs
(Currently accepting applications)
Worker Rights Consortium Board Representatives
AMBER CHAN is a student at the University of Alabama majoring in Geography and minoring in GIS. Originally from Norman, Oklahoma, and now going to school in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Amber is no stranger to finding ways to challenge and subvert the status quo in overwhelmingly conservative places. Currently working at the Crossroads Community Engagement Center on campus, she works directly with school administration to put on programming advocating for diversity and inclusion. She joined USAS her second semester of sophomore year almost by chance, but was quickly impressed and inspired by the work they were able to accomplish, and the campaigns they fought hard to win. Now she is looking forward to serving on the WRC board and will continue to advocate for USAS and workers’ rights.
APRIL LOPEZ is a senior at Gonzaga University majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing and a minor in communication studies. She is a latinx, working class student. She joined USAS her second year of college and it’s been a blessing ever since. As a former agricultural laborer, she understands the hardships others are faced with. This understanding fuels her to bring better conditions to other marginalized workers. At the last national conference she was inspired to pursue this role and she hopes she can fulfill it. Outside USAS, April enjoys watching movies, listening to good music, and writing. Her favorite band in the entire world: Panic! at the Disco.
BETSEY CARROLL is a sophomore at Villanova University majoring in Political Science and Sociology. She has been involved in Villanova Student Labor Action Movement (VUSLAM) since the first semester of her freshman year, and since then has been working on completing their international solidarity campaign which involved implementing the UW Seattle labor rights language into Villanova’s licensing agreement with Nike, a demand that was met this April. She is dedicated to international worker justice and in growing in her understanding of the struggle against exploitation, and is passionate about organizing and helping students to discover their power. She loves USAS for its strong, unified community of student activists who share the same action-oriented philosophy. When not organizing, Betsey can be found going to live music of any kind, playing guitar, or snuggling with her dog, Violet.
MEHLAM BHURIWALA is a rising junior at the University of Texas at Austin. Originally from small-town Texas, he fell in love with the radical organizing he could participate in at college after joining USAS his freshman year. He was amazed by the commitment and intensity USASers brought to their organizing and, since joining, has been dedicated to bringing the fight for workers’ rights to his campus. Throughout his time with USAS, Mehlam has worked on the international campaign against Nike, co-facilitated workshops and breakouts at the national conference, and served on the WRC Board of Representatives for one year. He has worked with USAS locals and partners across the world and is constantly reminded of the power student leaders share with unions and allies. He cannot wait to pass on his experiences to a new generation of USAS Leadership and support them in their organizing in any way he can. Mehlam studies Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies and hopes one day to help organize workers in the Global South. Outside of USAS, Mehlam spends his time learning to cook, reading, or exploring the city of Austin.
PATRICIA (TRISH) ALVARO is a Sophomore studying Accounting and Solidarity and Social Justice at Gonzaga University and is a part of USAS Local 14. Her passion for worker’s rights sparked at a young age when she was exposed to various worker’s movements within her province in the Philippines. From there, she maintained a consciousness of the oppression of her communities from California’s immigrant policies to working on anti-trafficking campaigns of Washington’s I-90 freeway. In her first year at USAS, her and members of Gonzaga’s chapter mobilized to have administration restructure their contract with Nike and led an initiative for a Race and Ethnic Studies minor which will be implemented by the Fall of 2019. Trish identifies as a Filipina-born immigrant and on her free time she loves to create short films and cook large amounts of Filipino food.