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)
Anna Barcy grew up in New Jersey, and she’s a junior at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey. She has been working with Rutgers USAS since her freshman year. She has worked on campaigns to cut contracts with RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company, the Fair Labor Association, and Adidas. Last year, she worked as a Regional Organizer and this year she will serve as the Campus Worker Justice representative to the Coordinating Committee. Right now, she and fellow RUSASers are pressuring Rutgers admins to cut ties with T-Mobile to fight back against the company’s vicious union busting policies.
Troy Neves is a second year Sociology and Political Science Major at Northeastern University. In the last year, Troy took part in successfully campaigning for Northeastern to cut their contract with Badidas. While he is relatively new to USAS, he looks forward to serving as a Regional Organizer for the Northeast and collaborating to build student worker power!! Troy is a self-identifying mixed race, queer male. When he is not challenging the patriarchy (or maybe while he is), you can find him cooking, doing yoga, or hanging out with friends.
Karen Escobedo, University of Texas – Austin
Sarah Newell is a senior studying Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California. She got involved in USAS when the breathtaking wonder of her local, the Student Coalition Against Labor Exploitation caught her eye… or rather, her contact info. Since then, she has had the opportunity to help win a thirteen year fight for WRC affiliation at her university, easily the most fun thing she’s ever experienced. She is the International Solidarity Committee representative to the Coordinating Committee and thrilled with the opportunity to widen the scope of USAS’ international campaign work. Outside of her love affair with all things labor, and her local’s vicious End Deathtraps campaign, Sarah enjoys singing in an a cappella group, collecting bottles of Tabasco and is a registered ice cream enthusiast.
Michele Nyberg is a senior at the University of Memphis. She has been fighting for living wages at her school and in Memphis for two years and has been an active labor movement lover/ fighter for 5 years. She identifies as a queer socialist sister lover bartender organizer cultural worker southern woman of color and can’t wait to see your school win its campaign.
Caiden Elmer is a fourth year Spanish major at American University. While at AU he’s worked on an adjunct unionization campaign, contract fights with AU food service workers and housekeepers, and is hoping to wrap up the End Deathtraps campaign in the near future. Last year he was a Regional Organizer and a co-chair for the Trans* and Non-Binary Caucus and is super pumped to be one of the At-Large Reps on the CC for the upcoming year. Caiden identifies as white, gay, trans* and part of the working class.
National Organizers (contact info)
Julia Wang is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California where she received her Bachelors degree in Neuroscience. During her time at USC, she helped to run a number of campaigns with USC’s USAS local, the Student Coalition Against Labor Exploitation. Most notably, the group won a 13-year fight for affiliation with the Worker Rights Consortium. As a Regional Organizer and later a member of the Coordinating Committee, Julia supported campus organizing efforts alongside campus workers in SEIU and UNITE HERE, as well as campaigns throughout the Los Angeles county. In the summer of 2013, Juliatraveled to Bangladesh with other USAS students to meet with workers and unions and helped launch the “End Deathtraps Campaign.” Julia identifies as a woman of color.
Marcelle Grair is a 2013 graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with Pre-law and Secondary Education concentrations. In 2012, she became actively involved in the “Justice for School Workers” campaign which involved school workers, unions, and students across the state of Georgia fighting to get unemployment benefits reinstated for Georgia school workers. She joined USAS during her senior year at Spelman College, and became a Regional Organizer. During Marcelle’s senior year she helped start a USAS chapter in the Atlanta University Center (Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College). Additionally, she worked closely with students on Agnes Scott’s campus, Atlanta Jobs With Justice, and Georgia school workers from the Atlanta University Center, Georgia State, and Emory University to organize events such as legislative days of action and the “March to Defend Unemployment Benefits.” After a year of strong organizing, Georgia school workers’ unemployment benefits were reinstated. Marcelle identifies as a woman of color, queer, part of the working class and is 22 years old.
Arianna Feldman is a junior at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, although she is originally from Italy. She is an American Studies major with a minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is a member of Kick Wells Fargo Off Campus at Macalester and is presently working on supporting adjunct faculty at Macalester as they form a union. Arianna is super excited to be a Regional Organizer in Minnesota and to build student and worker power across the Midwest. She identifies as a 21-year-old white heterosexual woman.
Robert Naylor grew up in Tennessee and is a senior in Global Studies at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. This is his third year in USAS and his second as a regional organizer. Last year, he and PSA-USAS local 86 started working on a statewide living wage campaign that won a dollar raise in the minimum wage for campus workers throughout the UT system. The campaign has expanded into the Put the People First coalition that held a 300 person rally in Knoxville and five other rallies across the state. He is excited for to turn up the heat on the living wage campaign and start an End Deathtraps campaign at Knoxville in the fall and continue to organize across Tennessee. When not organizing, he enjoys binge watching slam poems online, coming up with embarrassing dance routines to pop songs, and adding too much whipped cream to his coffee. Robert identifies as a queer person and is 21.
Brittany Whitaker, Spelman University
Anthony “A.J.” James is a junior at the University of Alabama where he is majoring in both microbiology and Spanish. A.J. joined the USAS family in the spring of 2013 and since then has participated in the winning of an Alta Gracia campaign and has helped continue to organize the enormous and necessary struggle for affiliation with the Worker Rights Consortium, the only truly independent factory monitoring organization in the country. As a Regional Organizer A.J. hopes to bring a sense of solidarity for worker rights back to the conservative South. A.J. identifies as a working-class, Black American who enjoys singing, performing, researching Parkinson’s, and shattering conventional thought. A.J. is also a CL Co-Chair.
Johnson Pham is a second year student at the University of California, Riverside where he is currently studying Linguistics. As part of UC Riverside’s USAS Local 19, he participated in the local AFSCME3299 campaign to win campus service workers and patient care technicians their fair contract after months of intimidation and union-busting techniques from the UC administration. Currently, he is involved with the ISC campaign to End Deathtraps by urging the UC Office of the President to force collegiate apparel brands to sign to the Bangladesh Accord for Fire and Building Safety in order to improve factory and working conditions for the Bangladeshi garment workers. As a Regional Organizer, Johnson is greatly looking forward to mobilize students and to make sure that all we do is win! When not organizing, Johnson is an avid Netflix watcher, food-eater and lit nerd. Johnson identifies as a queer person of color, and is 19 years old.
Katie Plank is a junior at American University majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Chinese. Although she joined AU’s USAS local, Student Worker Alliance, because she had friends in the group, she quickly became invested in working to build student and worker power after attending the Northeast Regional Bootcamp. She helped to start (and as of May, win) an End Deathtraps campaign at AU and is very excited to work on organizing in the DC area next year. Her interests involve labor organizing, taking pictures but avoiding being in them, studying one language while listening to music in another, and hiking the in the Great Smokey Mountains near her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Sam Son is a sophomore at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey studying Economics and Women & Gender Studies. She worked on a successful End Death Traps campaign, which requires her university to cut contracts with brands that do not have correct fire codes and building safety in factories in Bangladesh. Sam is extremely excited to serve as an RO for USAS this year. In her free time, Sam enjoys playing guitar, singing, and socializing.
Chanelle Yang is a senior at the University of Southern California, majoring in Public Policy and Law. Last year, she helped jump-start the End Deathtraps campaign at USC as Public Relations Chair. While living in DC last semester, Chanelle ran the same campaign at George Washington University, making progress with administration to cut contracts with university apparel brands that have not signed the Accord. As a Regional Organizer, Chanelle is excited to spend her last year at USC building worker-student solidarity along the West Coast. Expressing her artistic side, she enjoys choreographing social justice flash mobs and singing classic Motown tunes.
Deanna Nagle is a third-year student at Penn State University majoring in Labor Studies and Employee Relations. After learning about sweatshops and attending the USAS national conference, she was inspired to join. She became a member in the spring of 2014 and helped her chapter successfully complete their End Deathtraps campaign. She also participated in USAS’s Spring Break trip to VF Corporation headquarters in Greensboro, NC. Alongside other USAS organizers, she helped gain community support and organized a community forum in efforts to spread awareness of VF Corporation’s social injustices. She is extremely excited to be a Regional Organizer in the coming school year. Deanna’s vision is to enhance solidarity between students and workers across the Northeast in the fight for workers’ rights. In her free time she enjoys eating snow-cones, reading, dancing.
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.
Amanda Dal is a fourth year student at the University of Texas at Austin, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. She has been in USAS for close to a year now and has been involved in a campaign to stop UT from implementing a plan that will ultimately cut 500 jobs. Aside from USAS, Amanda spends her time as an officer for Queer People of Color and Allies at UT. She grew up in a border city, which she hopes to eventually move back to someday. Amanda is a mixed-race, queer, middle-class, cis-female.
Blake McGhghy is a sophomore at Harvard University majoring in Social Studies with interests in economic sociology and human rights. He organizes for campus worker justice as a member of SLAM and for endowment ethics as a Co-Coordinator of the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition. He is honored to help mobilize students in Boston as a Regional Organizer, and is especially enthusiastic about educational justice. Originally from Iowa, he identifies as a white nineteen year-old male.
Dhruv Pathak is a junior at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro majoring in History and African American and Diaspora Studies. Born in Gujurat, India but since then mostly been living in Charlotte, NC he has developed a strong disdain for corporations and capitalists. He has had some sort of explotative job since he was about 16 and it has really radicalized him because he saw how workers, especially, immigrants were treated. He has participated in campaigns to end police brutality, subside corporate power and keep education affordable. Outside of organizing he is a huge hip hop enthusiast and reads at least 15 pages a day.
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.
Megan Haugh is a third year student at Michigan State University, majoring in International Relations and minoring in Economics. She joined USAS last year and helped launch the End Deathtraps Campaign at MSU. After participating in the Workers Tour and holding a teach-in on the anniversary of Rana Plaza, MSU announced that it will require licensees to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. Megan looks forward to future campaigns and actions. In her free time, Megan enjoys binge watching Netflix and going out to eat with friends. She identifies as working class, age 20, and is originally from Kansas.
Collective Liberation Caucus Co-Chairs
Petro On is currently a junior at the University of Texas at Austin. Ze is studying Asian American Studies and has a minor is Biology. Ze is the co-chair for the People of Color Cacus. Ze has worked on international solidarity campaigns which include the Worker Rights Consortium. Ze is currently working on a Anti-Privatization and Outsourcing campaign at the University of Texas at Austin. Ze enjoys talking about social justice issues and hir understands that conversations about marginalized people are important to have. Hir also enjoys reading, playing tennis, and listening to poetry. You can always find hir yelling from hir’s lungs for the fight against capitalism, colonialism, racism, sexism, homophonia, classism, etc.
Jasmine Taylor is a third year student at the University of Tennessee: Knoxville. Jasmine is from Memphis, TN. She is double majoring in Political Science and Global Studies. She is a member and President of UT’s USAS local, Progressive Student Alliance (PSA), who has campaigned with campus workers alongside the United Campus Workers union local 3865for Living Wages. PSA campaigned for collective liberation on campus for campus workers as well. In coordination with USAS PSA’s Campus Worker Justice Campaign and UT’s workers earned a $1.00 raise within a semester. Jasmine has enjoyed the passion the CWJ campaign brought to her campus and her first experiences as an organizer. She has experienced solidarity and collective liberation sweeping her campus. Jasmine in also a Collective Liberation Caucus Co-Chair. She is the Co-Chair of the People of Color Caucus. Jasmine enjoys organizing, reading, playing the viola, and writing poetry. Jasmine is a 20 year old and she identifies as a black woman.
Sokona Diallo, Northeastern University
Elizabeth Morfin is currently a junior studying Political Science with minors in Philosophy and Psychology at University of California, Irvine. In the last year she was inspired to become a Labor Union Intern on campus after attending the Student of Color Conference held at UCLA. As an intern she coordinated with USAS and AFSCME 3299 to fight and win a fair contact for the labor workers on campus from the UC system. In her free time you will find Eli reading, spending time with family, and getting involved on campus. She identifies as a middle class Hispanic woman and she is a strong believer in fair wages, justice and equality for all workers.
Stephanie Montenegro, University of Virginia
Hannah Roe is a senior at Rutgers University in New Jersey and is a Women & Gender Studies major minoring in Geography and Labor studies. She has worked on several USAS campaigns including the Adidas campaign and the End Deathtraps campaign. She has worked with a local work center in New Brunswick on their wage theft campaign which passed a local ordinance. She will be a Women’s Caucus Collective Liberation Co-Chair this year and is very excited to meet new people and work with everyone!
Ciara Malaugh is an Irish- American, second year student at the University of Alabama majoring in Political Science and Psychology and minoring in Telecommunication and Film. When she is not trying out vegan recipes, practicing Model UN strategies, or belting Lana del Rey songs, you can probably find her arguing about the importance of equality and human rights in society—a habit that makes her incredibly eager to serve as the Co- Chair for the Women’s Caucus. She is new to USAS and is currently working on the Workers’ Rights Consortium campaign at UA, and she looks forward to successfully working on more USAS campaigns. She identifies as a heterosexual white woman and is 19 years old.
Brittany Whitaker, Spelman University
Anna Thomas is a senior majoring in Spanish and minoring in Education at the University of Alabama. She just started getting involved with USAS last year, but was deeply moved after the trip to the Alta Gracia factory in the Dominican Republic to strengthen the WRC campaign at her conservative university. Despite the uphill fight this entails, she is networking in Birmingham this summer with the organizations Magic City Agriculture Project, Winning Our Wages, and Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice. Though she will be attending grad school at UAB in Birmingham after this Fall, she will remain an active member of UA’s campaign as well as building a group at UAB. She is honored and excited to be a co-chair for the Mixed Race Caucus. In what little down time she has, she immerses herself in her local DIY music communities.
Brandon Shaw is a senior philosophy major at the University of Memphis. He started to get involved with community organizing in 2012, when he co-founded a non profit community service organization known as Subliminal Thought. Not too long after that, he joined the Memphis PSA and United Students Against Sweatshops. Since then he’s been heavily involved in campus worker justice campaigns in Memphis and the statewide labor movement in Tennessee known as Put the People First. He also recently started a grassroots media campaign known as SoulScript Productions and plans to teach English in high school and pursue campaigns in education reform.
Lindsey Disler is a junior at Grand Valley State University, majoring in political science and sociology and minoring in philosophy. During its “Badidas campaign,” Lindsey helped to revive the Grand Valley USAS chapter after 8 years of dormancy. Most of her time is split between her academic work, USAS, and Act On Racism (which is another collective liberation organization). She enjoys participating in social justice and collective liberation groups to the benefit of all people.
David Troy is a senior studying Spanish Studies at American University. Ze has been involved in AU’s USAS local, the Student Worker Alliance (SWA), since their freshman year. Throughout this time, he has been involved in numerous campaigns for campus worker justice, as well as SWA’s recent successful International Solidarity campaign. As co-chair, she hopes to both bring an emancipatory understanding of gender and sexuality directly into the labor movement, while providing a safer and more affirming space for queer, trans, and gender non-binary folks to exist and work within it. Besides organizing, ze enjoys reading revolutionary theory and dancing to pop songs.
Caiden Elmer, American University (bio listed under CC members)
AJ James, University of Alabama (bio listed under ROs)
Worker Rights Consortium Board Representatives
Mark Ortiz is a Senior majoring in Political Ecology and Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. Mark has served as a Regional Organizer and Caucus Co-Chair for USAS, and started the Alabama affiliate, USAS Local 144, at the end of his sophomore year. He has run a successful campaign to get Alta Gracia clothes in the school bookstore, and is campaigning now to get his university to affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium. He is looking forward to serving as a WRC Board Rep this school and having the opportunity to help direct the WRC’s operations and gain new insights to aid in the affiliation campaign at his university. When he is not organizing Mark, enjoys listening to the experimental sounds of jazz fusion.
Maya Menlo is a lifelong metro-Detroiter and current junior at the University of Michigan, studying public policy and Arabic language. She recently had the exhilarating opportunity to work on the victorious USAS campaign against Adidas, and is excited to continue organizing for international workers’ rights with the end death traps campaign. She is a travel enthusiast, a raging feminist, a dedicated co-oper, a spicy food fanatic, a lover of productive meetings, and a total nerd.
Sarahi Soto is a fourth-year student at the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently studying Biology but is planning on switching over to Sociology. She is 21 years old and is from El Paso, TX. Sarahi joined UT Austin’s USAS chapter in October 2013 and has never looked back. After going to the meetings for about 2 weeks, she decided to accompany her fellow USASers to Memphis, TN, for the Y’allSAS Boot Camp and it was one of the best decisions she has ever made. Since then, she has helped with the Stop Shared Services campaign at UT and occupied the president’s office along with 17 other students. She is looking forward to doing lots of amazing work with amazing people!
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.
Nida Ahmed has been working with USAS for a bit more than a year. I came in to the organization just as the Adidas campaign wrapped up at Rutgers. Since then, I have thrown myself into organizing and have learned an incredible amount with USAS in just the past year as I worked through the Bangladesh Accord campaign. As the campaign at Rutgers emerged victorious, I am more eager than ever to leap into another one and continue learning more about organizing and keep meeting more amazing people from the USAS community.