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.
Julia Wang is a fourth year student at the University of Southern California where she is studying Neuroscience and Human Rights. She is a member of USC’s USAS local, the Student Coalition Against Labor Exploitation (SCALE), campaigning alongside both campus workers and international garment workers. Julia helped to organize a campaign to have her university affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium, the only independent monitoring organization in the country, and has worked on numerous corporate campaigns to garner respect for workers from some of the largest brands in the world. She is the International Solidarity Committee representative to the Coordinating Committee and is excited about moving forward to widen the scope of USAS’ international campaign work. Most recently, she’s been obsessed with lumber-jack winter socks, making biscotti, and super-spy heist films. If you buy her a coffee, she will most definitely love you forever!
Rachel Shevrin is in her third year at the University of Washington in Seattle, as well as her third year with UW USAS. She has worked strategically with her fellow UW USASers to cut contracts with Sodexo and Adidas, as well as campaigning with state AFSCME members to get better contracts for both the janitorial staff and student support service staff. Most recently, she helped lead the charge of making UW USAS part of the voluntary student funding system, pleasantly shaking up both the campus community and the administration, as well as the general status quo. Rachel identifies as a straight white woman who loves being goofy. As an At-Large Representative, she hopes to work with and get to know everyone!
Leewana Thomas is a senior at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is majoring in American Studies with accidental minors in Educational Studies and Anthropology. She loves fighting corporate greed—in her community and on campus. She’s worked in solidarity with hotel workers, international garment workers, and teachers, but spends most of her time Kicking Wall Street Off Campus and beating back the bank attack. Leewana identifies as a middle-class straight white woman. In addition to fighting corporate greed, her loves include gorillas, Harry Potter, and her USAS family!
Lingran Kong is a fourth year student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Political Science and Sociology. She has been involved in her school’s USAS local, the Student Labor Action Coalition (SLAC), since her first year. Lingran was heavily engaged in the 2011 Wisconsin Uprising and occupied the capitol building alongside local union members in fighting Scott Walker’s heinous attack on workers’ rights. Additionally, Lingran has worked on campaigns to push UW-Madison to cut its contracts with companies that exploit their workers and fail to uphold the university’s Code of Conduct. Lingran is also a Regional Organizer.
Martin Xavi Macias is a 4th year, studying Urban Planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Martin formed UIC Students Against Sweatshops after attending the Midwest Boot Camp in the Fall of 2012. The group joined (and pushed to rename) the Campus Worker and Student Coalition. Together, students and workers fought to attain a fair work contract for the Grad Employees Organization and will continue the fight for the rest of their campus workers. USAS also pressured UIC to cut ties with Adidas and carry Alta Gracia in their bookstore. Martin previously served as the Co-Chair for the People of Color Caucus on the Collective Liberation Committee. He loves: vegan food, his family, his partner and playing soccer with his team, the Mighty Mangoes – and supporting FC Barcelona! He identifies as a cisgender, working class person of the global majority (or POC) and is 24 years young. Martin is also a Regional Organizer.
National Organizers (contact info)
KB Brower started work as a National Organizer for USAS in 2012. She first got involved in her sophomore year at the College of William and Mary, where she became active in a historic 10-year long fight for living wages for campus workers. As a junior and senior she worked as a Regional Organizer in the Southeast and sat on the USAS Coordinating Committee. After two years of campaigning alongside the housekeeping and groundskeeping staff that culminated in a sit-in, the campus workers received their first raise in years. KB also helped organize USAS’ groundbreaking campaigns against Russell Athletic and Nike, in solidarity with workers who make college apparel. After graduating KB went on to organize with SEIU Healthcare 1199 NE, where she worked on a campaign that won collective bargaining rights for 6000 home-care workers in the state of Connecticut. KB is excited to be working with USAS again to help grow the student-labor movement!
Garrett Shishido Strain started as a national organizer with USAS in 2012. While attending the University of Washington-Seattle, Garrett helped organize several campaigns for student and worker power, including UW USAS’s successful campaign—culminating in three consecutive sit-ins—to end the University’s business relationship with outsourcing giant Sodexo. Beginning in 2010, Garrett also became an elected officer and organizer with UAW Local 4121 where he helped organize a contract campaign that resulted in significant wage increases and improvements for over 4,200 academic student employees across the UW campus. Garrett identifies as mixed-race/person of color and is 24 years old.
Jan Van Tol joined USAS as a National Organizer in 2012 after studying Russian and Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While a student, Jan organized campaigns to pressure the university to sever contracts with New Era Cap, Russell Athletic, and Nike over labor rights violations in their supply chains, forcing those companies to agree to groundbreaking settlements with workers and their unions. After graduation, Jan began work as an organizer for the American Federation of Teachers on a campaign to organize faculty and staff in the University of Wisconsin System and was on the front lines in the battle against Gov. Scott Walker’s corporate-backed attacks on unions. He started work as a National Organizer in 2012, and is 26 years old.
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.
Amanda Mendez is a third year at the University of California, Berkeley double majoring in Native American Studies and French and minoring in Disability Studies. When as a student worker at Cal’s dining commons she got word of the contract fight her co-workers were a part of, she wanted to help fight. Her introduction to USAS was during this past 16th Annual National Conference where she joined the UC USAS as Cal’s representative. As a new Regional Organizer, Amanda hopes to create solidarity throughout the Northern California region in order to help UC workers win a fair and just contract. Aside from organizing Amanda loves to get down with her fellow co-opers, living in the largest co-ops in North America, the beautiful Cloyne Court Casino and Hotel. Amanda is a 19 year old Xicana.
Bianca Hinz-Foley, University of Texas – Austin
Caiden Jay Elmer is a junior at American University majoring in Spanish and Latin America Studies. He participated in Unite HERE’s Organizing Beyond Barriers program and worked on a campaign involving DC university food service workers’ contract fights. He continued to work on the same campaign with American University’s USAS affiliate, Student Worker Alliance. He’s super pumped to continue building momentum in the DC area and to help organizing groups connect with one another. Caiden’s white, working-class and identifies as gay and transgender. He’s originally from Oregon and enjoys playing sports and being outside.
Caitlin MacLaren is a senior at New York University, where she has worked on campaigns to cut contracts with big banks and sweatshop brands. She helped launch the Student Labor Action Movement at NYU to build student and worker power on campus. Caitlin is currently part of USAS’s International Solidarity Campaigns committee.
Claire Wiklund is a junior studying social inequality at Virginia Tech. She got involved with Alta Gracia and organizing her sophomore year when she met some truly amazing Dominican organizers. After bringing AG to the bookstore, Claire and her new USAS@VT team launched an “End Deathtraps” campaign to protect the rights of Bangladeshi workers in the Hokie supply chain. A native of Minneapolis and an omelette production specialist, she enjoys trees, coffee, and lounging with cats. Claire is so excited to work alongside USASers as an RO and hopes to expand Southern solidarity for workers’ justice.
Cynthia Chavez is a fourth-year student at the University of California Riverside where she is studying Political Science, International Relations, Ethnic Studies, and Labor Studies. She is a USAS Regional Organizer and a member of UCR’s USAS Local 19, campaigning in solidarity with international garment workers, campus workers, and workers in the inland empire. Cynthia helped to organize a campaign to have the UC system cut contracts with Adidas and is currently working on the End Deathtraps campaign that requires brands that manufacture university apparel to sign the Bangladesh Safety Accord contract to make sure workers in Bangladesh work in safe places. Furthermore, Cynthia is part of the Campus Workers Justice (AFSCME) campaign in support for fair living wages and a fair contract for campus workers. She proudly identifies her self as a working class Xicana. She loves organizing to fight for justice in the labor movement and collective liberation. Other than that, she loves dancing, exercising, and ice cream!
Jonathan Londoño is a senior at Arizona State University where he is studying US and Mexican Regional Immigration Policy and Economy under the School of Transborder Studies. With the help of national leadership, Jonathan brought the USAS campaign against Adidas to ASU where previously there was no chapter. His efforts had both students and university officials critically discussing the university’s contract with Adidas. As a Regional Organizer, Jonathan hopes to greater expand USAS in the southwest for future campaigns and stronger student solidarity. He has worked as a football video coordinator for over 6 years in high school and in college. Born in central Phoenix, Arizona, Jonathan identifies himself as a proud Colombian-American. He is 21 years old. Photo credit: graduated USASer Morgan Currier.
Katie Corbit is a senior studying Spanish and Community Action & Social Change at the University of Michigan. At UMich, Katie and her fellow USASers stand in solidarity with both local and global workers. She developed a passion for the USAS mission from participating in a USAS Regional Boot Camp and enrolling in an Ethical Consumption course during her junior year. When not studying, working, or fighting for the underdog, Katie enjoys playing with her cat, eating froyo, and watching Sportscenter.
Mark Ortiz is a junior majoring in Biology and Sustainability Studies at the University of Alabama. Mark is new to USAS, just starting the Alabama affiliate, Students for Fair Labor, at the end of his sophomore year. After running a successful campaign to get Alta Gracia clothes in the school bookstore, Mark wanted to get more involved in USAS and the labor movement to help build a strong student and worker movement in the South. He is looking forward to serving as an RO this school and having the opportunity to strengthen solidarity in the South. When he is not organizing Mark enjoys listening to the experimental sounds of jazz fusion.
Naomi Carbrey, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Razzan Quran is a junior at the University of Memphis. Growing up in Palestine enabled her to see the different dimensions of oppression and mistreatment. Since moving to the US two years ago, she has learned so much through USAS and the power of organizing. As a member of the Campus Worker Justice Campaigns Razzan looks forward to winning the Living Wage campaign on her campus and in her state. The South is especially an intricate organizing space due to blatant worker unappreciation and the state leadership’s disregard of basic civil rights. She joined USAS Spring of 2012 and is currently a Regional Organizer in Tennessee.
Robert Naylor is a junior at the University of Tennessee Knoxville where he is majoring in Global Studies. After winning a campaign to bring Alta Gracia to the campus bookstore in 2012, Robert moved on to fight for domestic partner benefits for UT workers and started up the Badidas campaign at Knoxville. This year he will be working in solidarity with United Campus Workers to fight for living wages throughout the University of Tennessee system. He feels honored to be working to build student and worker power across the Southeast. When not organizing, he enjoys reading, rewriting pop songs for social justice flashmobs, and secretly adding more whipped cream to his coffee when his friends aren’t watching. Robert identifies as a 20 year-old queer male.
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.
Collective Liberation Caucus Co-Chairs
Arianna Feldman is sophomore at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, although she is originally from Italy. She is an English, Creative Writing major with two minors in American Studies and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is a member of Kick Wells Fargo Off Campus at Macalester and has been involved in many campaigns to fight corporate attacks on campus. Arianna is super excited to be a Women’s Caucus Co-Chair and can’t wait to empower women in the fight to hold multinational companies accountable. She identifies as a white heterosexual woman and is 20 years old.
Vanlyn Turner-Ramsay, University of Memphis
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.
Mariela Martinez, Brown University
Francisco Rios Casas has thoroughly enjoyed living in the city of Los Angeles for the past three years as an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California studying Human Biology with a minor in American Studies and Ethnicity. He has organized alongside workers on his campus and in solidarity with those making university apparel for many different brands. He identifies as a working-class person of color and, as such, seeks out any opportunity to positively impact people in these and other marginalized groups. He hopes to be a part of an inclusive and sustainable movement for social justice: one that is made up of a diverse community and one in which people are given the tools to discover a greater meaning in their work and, as a result, a greater significance in their life. He enjoys reading science fiction or history, listening to irreverent podcasts, travelling on a budget, and jogging!
Stephanie Medina, Brown University
Troy Neves, Northeastern University
Dominique Porter, Ohio State University
Caiden Elmer, American University
Stoni Tomson, Brown University
Mark Ortiz, University of Alabama
Worker Rights Consortium Board Representatives
Jose Godinez is a Bay Area native and a sophomore at Syracuse University. He undeclared in the school of management and double majoring in Policy studies. He started a chapter at Syracuse the second semester of his freshman year. This summer, Jose joined USAS in a delegation to Bangladesh. He is really excited to launch the end death traps campaign at Syracuse and serve on the WRC board this upcoming school year.
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.
Rob Battista was born and raised in Buffalo, New York and now attends The Ohio State University. He is a rising third year in chemical engineering and has been in USAS since early his freshman year. For the past two years, Rob helped to run the Buck the Cowboys campaign that helped halt Silver Star Merchandising’s desire to tap into large public universities. Also, Rob was an international intern in the summer of 2012 in Nicaragua where he worked to document the conditions in the free trade zone factories. While not organizing, Rob is working on his research which centers around glacial environmental change in the Peruvian Andes.
Sarah Newell is a junior studying Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California, with minors in Cultural Anthropology and International Relations. She got involved in USAS when the breathtaking wonder of her local USC 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. Outside of her love affair with all things labor, Sarah enjoys singing in an a cappella group, spending an inordinate amount of time reading blogs on identity politics, lollygagging with her English bulldog and the occasional geocaching session.
Youbin Kang is a 5th year student at Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design studying International Relations and Textiles. She is involved with Brown University’s USAS chapter, the Student Labor Alliance (SLA). She has worked with SLA efforts to cut Adidas’s athletic contract with Brown University, and the amazing win has motivated her to go on organizing. She is a 22 year old Korean student fighting for worker justice in the United States, and hopes that USAS in the form of international student solidarity spreads to more countries! Youbin is an avid knitter and really likes eating frozen gogurt.