LNS Team

Joe Uehlein, President

Founding President of the Labor Network for Sustainability, and Voices for a Sustainable Future. Joe is the former secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO’s Industrial Union Department and former director of the AFL-CIO Center for Strategic Campaigns. Joe spent over 30 years doing organizing, bargaining, and strategic campaign work in the labor movement. Joe also served as the Secretary to the North American Coordinating Committee of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, and Mine Workers unions (ICEM). Joe also served on the United Nations commission on global warming from its inception in 1988 through the Kyoto Accords in 1997 until 2003. Joe is a founding board member of Ceres (Coalition for Environmentally responsible Economies), and served on the Ceres board for 23 years. Joe is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and served as a senior strategic advisor to the Blue Green Alliance for five years.  Joe is a current board member of USCAN, the US Climate Action Network. In the early 1970’s he worked in an aluminum mill in Mechanicsburg, PA as a member of the United Steelworkers of America, and then on heavy and highway construction projects in Central Pennsylvania as a member of the Laborer’s International Union of North America.  He also serves on the advisory board of the Future of Music Coalition. Joe is a musician, and a member of the American Federation of Musicians.

Organizing

Maria Brescia-Weiler, Project Manager

Maria Brescia-Weiler grew up in Washington, DC, where she lives now. Since graduating from Kenyon College with a degree in American Studies, she has worked in logistics to support direct action and strategic planning for progressive organizations. She has conducted several oral history projects and believes deeply in listening as a foundation for enacting change. She began her work in the labor movement as an intern at UFCW Local 400 in Maryland, and joined the LNS team in 2020 to provide support and research assistance throughout the Just Transition Listening Project. She continues her work with LNS as Project Manager of the Young Worker Listening Project.

 

Elizabeth Bunn, National Policy and Maryland State Director

Elizabeth Bunn is the former Director of the Organizing Department for the AFL-CIO having been appointed by AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka in February 2010, and having retired in 2017.

Prior to becoming Organizing Director, she held the position of Secretary-Treasurer of the International Union, UAW, a post to which she was first elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006. This is the highest position held by a woman in UAW history.

She previously served as Vice-President of the UAW, a post to which she was elected in 1998 and served until being elected Secretary-Treasurer.

As Secretary-Treasurer, in addition to her duties as the chief financial officer for the UAW, she oversaw the UAW’s non-manufacturing organizing initiatives since 1998. In that capacity, she secured bargaining rights for more than 18,000 academic student employees at both public and private universities, supervised campaigns among contingent faculty at several universities and successful representation elections for thousands of gaming employees. She was also responsible for the organizing and bargaining of thousands of public employees. She negotiated landmark provisions addressing work-family balance and extending benefits to domestic partners.

As Organizing Director of the AFL-CIO, she has worked with affiliated unions to build their organizing capacity. In addition, under the leadership of President Trumka, the Organizing Department has accelerated global campaign initiatives, partnering with the global labor movement to counteract the power of  multi-national corporations and to address head-on the effects of the unlimited mobility of capital.

The Department has also strengthened relationships with community allies in support of organizing and has worked to assist the hundreds of thousands of workers outside the scope of traditional labor laws as they engage in self-organizing to build power in creative, non-traditional ways.

Additionally, the Department has initiated innovative approaches to linking support for immigrant workers with worker organizing campaigns which has also helped create a pipeline for young Spanish speaking organizers into the labor movement.

Under Ms. Bunn’s leadership, the Department has spearheaded multi-union, industry-wide organizing efforts in support of working people, including the innovative and ambitious Jobs to Move America (JMA), which uses public policy to spur investment in good-paying, high road employment in passenger rail and bus manufacturing in the United States and along the supply chain. The JMA coalition effort has resulted in the first neutrality/majority sign-up agreement between a union and a Japanese manufacturing company operating in the U.S. Coalition efforts have also resulted in the commitment by the Chinese company, China South Railway Sifang to open a new assembly facility in the south side of Chicago, the first in decades.

 

Mike Cavanaugh, Senior Strategic Advisor/Organizer

Mike Cavanaugh joined the staff of the Labor Network for Sustainability as of February, 2019 as our Senior Strategic Advisor/Organizer after a lifetime of working in the labor movement as an organizer and advocate for workers and their unions.

A native of Chicago, Mike began working in the labor movement in 1973 as an organizer building community and student support across the Midwest for striking garment workers of the Farah manufacturing company in El Paso and San Antonio Texas. He went on to organize hospital workers, clothing and textile workers, warehouse workers, public employees and more with a focus on building labor-community alliances for social and economic justice in states throughout New England, where he eventually became the Secretary Treasurer of the New England Regional Joint Board of UNITE.

After leaving his union in 1999 to accept a position at the national AFL-CIO in Washington DC, Mike held a number of senior positions in the Federation’s Field Department working to build and strengthen the nationwide network of State Federations, Area and Central Labor Councils. When the 2013 AFL-CIO Convention elected Tefere Gebre, the first immigrant, refugee, and central labor council leader to be elected to the top leadership as its Executive Vice President, Mike joined Tefere as his Executive Assistant, a position he held until retiring from the national federation in 2018.

Mike has a B.A. in Studies for Social Change from Knox College in Galesburg Illinois, and a Masters Degree in Labor Studies from the University of Massachusetts. His wife Dianne of Portland Maine is Nurse Practitioner currently working in Queens, NY. Their children Jennifer and Brendan and their spouses Daniel and Michelle live in New Jersey as do their two grandchildren, (around whom the world rotates) Michael Graceon (3 years) and Liam Gregory (6 months).

Mike brings a lifetime of organizing experience and a passion for building a progressive labor movement to the important work of LNS. For all of our children and grandchildren – our efforts must be consistent and long term to build a just and sustainable economy, environment and society.

Joshua Dedmond, Youth Organizer

Labor Network for Sustainability is very excited to welcome Joshua D. Dedmond as our LNS Youth Organizer!

A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Joshua is greatly involved in his community. He is the son of a Baptist Minister and a Registered Nurse. He considers his work as an organizer as an extension of his religious convictions and ministry and an opportunity to present an alternative of liberation to the people who are held captive by oppressive systems of exploitation.

Joshua has been a part of some the most recent fights for labor and collective power in the south.

He began his career as an organizer with the UAW’s Global Organizing Institute. He worked primarily on the campaign for Nissan’s workers organizing to have a free and fair union election at the Nissan America plant in Canton, Mississippi. He has also worked as an organizer for low wage workers in the Fight for $15 and a Union, and their Mid-South Organizing Committee.

He has worked as an Organizer for State and Municipal Employees in Mississippi, as a Local Organizer for the CWA, and during the 2016 election cycle he also served as the Central Mississippi Field Director for the Bernie Sanders campaign for President.

We are looking forward to Joshua helping LNS to connect with young workers and youth groups within the labor movement around the climate crisis!

Sydney Ghazarian, Membership Organizer

Sydney Ghazarian joined Labor Network for Sustainability in September 2021 as the organization’s Membership Organizer. Prior to joining the LNS team, Sydney was a National Climate Organizer whose work included coalition building for federal legislation; recruiting, training, and coaching local climate campaigners across the country; and launching a national network for community-focused climate campaigns. 

Sydney started a national climate-focused working group within the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and worked successfully toward establishing climate as a national priority for the organization. As a steering member of DSA’s national Green New Deal campaign committee, Sydney co-led DSA’s campaign to pass the PRO Act. This campaign– born from an analysis of the centrality of worker power in winning a Green New Deal and a truly just transition– is credited with winning support from two holdout Senators through the million+ calls DSA made through phone banks, nationwide actions, and coalition building with unions. Sydney currently serves as a member of DSA’s National Political Committee and is the DSA representative on the board of the Worker Power Coalition, a coalition of union and progressive organizations dedicated to passing the PRO Act and winning power for working people everywhere. Additionally, Sydney serves on the board of The Trouble magazine.

Bakari Height, Transit Planner

Bakari Height is the co-founder and president of the MARTA Army in Atlanta, Georgia, where he dedicated his work to shine a brighter light on equitable transit across such a sprawled-out Sun Belt City.   His organization allows users of transit to empower themselves to better their system through clever tactical urbanism projects like adding real-time arrival info at bus stops, crowdfunding over $10,000 for trash cans at bus stops, and volunteer efforts that connect users with the transit agency during the Interstate 85 bridge collapse. He has a Master’s in City and Regional Planning from Georgia Tech, and has also worked for various transportation organizations, such as the Georgia Department of Transportation, Atlanta BeltLine, City of Atlanta, and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit, and the Philly Transit Riders Union.

 

 

Oren Kadosh, Legal and Policy Researcher

Oren graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 2020 where he spent most of his time working with public interest student organizations on pro bono relief projects and in student organizing campaigns. He has experience serving working class and low-income communities on issues of unemployment, consumer debt, housing, and criminal defense.

Additionally, he has environmental legal experience combating toxic chemicals, defending clean water, protecting endangered species, and working on FOIA litigation.

Liz Ratzloff, Medium/Heavy Duty Vehicle Electrification Scoping Research Consultant

Liz Ratzloff started working with LNS in October 2021 to research the effects of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle electrification on workers and how to ensure the transportation sector is a source of high-quality, family sustaining jobs and contributes to a sustainable and equitable future.

Liz got her start as an organizer fighting for abortion access and local LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination protections as a college student in Michigan. While getting her Masters in Environmental Informatics and Conservation Ecology, Liz began working as the staff organizer for the University of Michigan graduate employees union, AFT Local 3550. In 2020, Liz organized a campus-wide strike for a safe and just pandemic response and led efforts to establish a multi-union People’s Budget, centering the priorities of workers and the broader community through participatory budgeting.

Liz founded and chairs the Just Transition Committee at the AFL-CIO Huron Valley Area Labor Federation where she is building a strong, labor-climate movement to move the local economy off of fossil fuels, while ensuring good jobs for workers. Liz is also the Vice President of the Huron Valley Workers Organizing and Research Center (HV-WORC), which provides research and education in support of worker efforts to organize.

Veronica Wilson, California Organizer

Veronica Wilson joined Labor Network for Sustainability in 2018 when she organized the network’s first Los Angeles Labor Convergence on Climate Change. She now supports unions across the state that are strengthening the labor-climate movement and advocating for an equitable transition for workers and communities. Before joining LNS, Veronica studied Zapotec language and land reform in Oaxaca, Mexico, and worked in labor education with a concentration on global solidarity. She has been a union member as a teacher and an ocean lifeguard, and is currently a member of UPTE-CWA 9119. Veronica volunteers for the Many Winters Gathering of Elders, an annual event to listen and learn about Native American cultural sustainability, self-determination, and sovereignty for future generations.

Fundraising and Operations

Margaret Chambers, Operations Director

Margaret Chambers joined the Labor Network for Sustainability in April 2020 as the organization’s Operations Director. She obtained a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration concentrating in Accounting from North Carolina Central University in Durham, N.C. She served as the Director of Finance and Administration for Grassroots Leadership, Inc, founder Si Kahn, in Charlotte, NC. Margaret has over 17 years of experience with the State of North Carolina in auditing, accounting and financial investigations.  Margaret is married to Derrick Chambers and has two children, Bre’ and Myles.  Margaret is also the daughter-in-law of Dr. Julius L. Chambers and Derrick owns the popular catering service MamaVs.

 

Carly Ebben Eaton, Development Director

Carlena Ebben Eaton joined the Labor Network for Sustainability as Development Director in March 2020.

Carly grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and was the first in her family to attend college. After graduating from Marquette University, she went on to earn her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northwestern University. In 2014, she became a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley and a member of UAW Local 5810, the Union of 12,000 Postdoctoral and Academic Researchers at the University of California. Her research has focused on the chemistry of nitrogen oxides, ozone, and aerosol particle production, and the impacts of this chemistry on air quality and climate.

Carly served as Financial Secretary of UAW 5810 and was a bargaining team member for the Union’s contract negotiations in 2016. She became an organizer with UAW 5810 in 2017, after determining that the best way for her to defend science – especially climate science – was to work to strengthen her union and build collective power with her fellow researchers.

Carly has served on the Executive Committee of the Alameda Labor Council, as Co-Chair of the Council’s Climate & Environmental Justice Caucus, and as the Council’s liaison to LNS.

Carly’s daughter, Violet, was born in June 2018 and has already become a dedicated climate and labor activist. She attended her first Climate March at three months old and is an honorary delegate to the Alameda Labor Council.

 

Research, Information, Communications

Leo Blain, Content Producer

Leo Blain is driven by a love of the outdoors, and the need to protect wild spaces. Leo first acted on his values at 9 years old when he joined the Young Activist Club at his elementary school.

Over the next four years, he organized, lobbied, and took direct action with his peers and ultimately won their campaign to eliminate polystyrene food service ware from his school and the city of Takoma Park, MD.

This experience provided the activist skills and the spark for the youth-focused, climate justice work he pursued throughout high school. Raised by two career union organizers, Leo has always had a strong commitment to workers’ rights along with environmental justice, and it’s likely his first time on the strike line was in utero.

In 2017, Leo attended the Conserve School, in Land O’ Lakes Wisconsin, where he honed his skills in environmental science, forestry, conservation, and advocacy. When he returned to traditional high school, he co-founded the student-led non-profit organization Youth Climate Summit USA. The organization hosts annual summits, with speakers, panelists, and workshop leaders from across the environmental movement, to educate youth about the seriousness of climate change and the power of their voices to influence adult decision-makers to take action. Leo developed an online toolkit so students at any school can organize a summit. Recently, Youth Climate Summit USA partnered with the Smithsonian institution to host ten climate summits at Smithsonian-affiliated venues across the country.

In fall of 2018, Leo, along with Kallan Benson of Fridays For Future and Jerome Foster II of the Climate Reporter, spoke in front of the Supreme Court in support of the plaintiffs in the Juliana V. The United States lawsuit. Leo has also been active as a volunteer with the Sunrise Movement, and was on the D.C. climate strike team for the first “deep strike” in March of 2019.

Leo is heading into his junior year at Guilford College, in Greensboro, North Carolina. He began working with the Labor Network for Sustainability this year and is focused on bringing youth voices into contact with the labor movement as well as enhancing LNS social media presence.

Jeremy Brecher, Senior Strategic Advisor, Co-Founder

Jeremy Brecher is a writer, historian, and activist who is the author of more than a dozen books on labor and social movements.  His book Strike! was described by Prof. Richard Flacks, UC Santa Barbara, as “the single most important book about the history of the American labor movement published in our time.”  His book Building Bridges: The Emerging Grassroots Coalition of Labor and Community was described by Richard L. Trumka, then president of the United Mine Workers and now president of the AFL-CIO, as “a very helpful guide to the kind of coalition building unions will need in the struggles that lie ahead.” His three books on globalization, Global Visions, Global Village or Global Pillage, and Globalization from Below, and his award-winning documentary Global Village or Global Pillage?, made a significant contribution to the emergence of the global justice movement, aka “globalization from below.”  His new book Save the Humans? Common Preservation in Action, just published by Paradigm Publishers, addresses how social movements make social change; it was described by Michael Pertschuk, former chair of the Federal Trade Commission, as “absolutely unique in its integration of engaging personal narratives of the author’s direct involvement in every significant social justice movement of the past four decades with his analytic history of previous movements.”  Over the course of half a century Brecher has participated in — and lent his writing skills to — movements for civil rights, nuclear disarmament, peace in Vietnam, international labor rights, global economic justice, accountability for war crimes, climate protection, and many others. For many years he was Humanities Scholar in Residence at Connecticut Public Broadcasting and is the winner of five regional Emmy awards for his documentary movie work.  He has also been a pioneer of participatory, community-based history, writing the guidebook History from Below: How to Uncover and Tell the Story of Your Community, Association, or Union, and helping a wide range of community historians create books, movies, and exhibits.  Studs Terkel wrote that “Jeremy Brecher’s work is astonishing and refreshing; and, God knows, necessary.”