Providing support to the next generation of worker advocates in honor of the MLBPA’s late Executive Director
The Major League Baseball Players Trust announced five recipients of the 2022 Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies, marking the eighth year it has provided support to aspiring worker advocates in the name of the former MLBPA executive director. Each recipient will receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Players Trust to assist in academic costs for the 2022-2023 school year.
Congratulations to the 2022 Recipients!
Maria Amanda Flores
Ever since being involved in a union organization campaign at the nonprofit where she worked, Flores has been passionate about organized labor as a way of confronting systems of oppression and improving people’s lives. She is currently the chair of the Northeastern Employment and Labor Law Association and involved in Filipino grassroots community organizing, bringing her perspective as a labor activist to connect workers’ struggles in the USA and her home country, the Philippines. Using her background as an anthropologist, (future) attorney, and artist, Flores aims to advocate for workers on a domestic and international level and eventually create a graphic novel to honor the stories of people involved in the movement.
Aaron Bryce Lee
An immigrant from South Korea, Lee is committed to helping build worker power and solidarity. He has been active in supporting healthcare workers in SEIU 1199-NE, building service, airport, and fast food workers in SEIU 32BJ, and seafood industry supply chain workers in New England. Through his range of experiences, Lee has affirmed his belief that organizing the working class is crucial in liberating marginalized populations and people of color from exploitation in the workplace. Lee believes the knowledge and skills he has accrued must be shared for the benefit of the less fortunate in society. He hopes to work for a union or worker center and further the cause of workers seeking better wages, working conditions, security, and dignity.
Juan Fernando Luna Leon
As the son of an undocumented construction worker, Luna witnessed contractors force his community to labor under life-threatening conditions for poverty-level wages. Inspired by his personal experiences, Luna joined Workers Defense Project (WDP) after he graduated from Texas A&M University. At WDP, he oversaw weekly wage claim clinics and organized immigrant construction workers. At the Law School, Luna has been involved in the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic. He will dedicate his career to supporting organizing campaigns that improve the lives of working people, and in particular, undocumented communities.
A former Minor and Major League Player, Rowley became involved in the labor movement during his playing career, negotiating directly with Major League Baseball for better player support during COVID-19 and working with the nonprofit Advocates for Minor Leaguers to improve working conditions for his colleagues. Witnessing the hardships that come with life in the Minor Leagues and the exploitation of disparate bargaining power inspired him to attend law school, and he hopes to further his work in helping Minor Leaguers secure a seat at the table and benefit from collective bargaining.
Troubled by economic inequality, climate catastrophe, and the subjugation of marginalized people, Stewart knew that he wanted to focus his career on combatting injustice. Inspired by the historical achievements of the labor movement, particularly during his semester in Latin America, Stewart recognized that the universality of workers’ interests makes the labor movement uniquely positioned to address the threats facing humanity while simultaneously improving life for everyone. As a law student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Stewart has represented workers and tenants in disputes through UW’s Neighborhood Law Clinic, and has worked with individual employees and unions through his clerkship at Hawks Quindel, S.C. As an attorney, he will continue representing workers and unions in their struggle for justice.
The Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies program launched in July 2014 to commemorate the life and work of Weiner by recognizing and supporting the efforts of people dedicated to improving the lives of workers – characteristics that were embodied by Weiner in his personal life, his studies and throughout his 25-year career with the Players Association.
To date, the Players Trust has distributed $400,000 in scholarships to future labor leaders through the program.
The Players Trust also provides support, resources, and networking opportunities to alumni of the scholarship program as they continue to move forward in their educational and vocational journeys.
About Michael Weiner
Michael Weiner spent 25 years, nearly his entire professional career, with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) working in support of Players –past, present and future. Despite being diagnosed with cancer in August of 2012, Michael continued working on behalf of the players until passing in November 2013, at the age of 51.
By nearly every conceivable measure, baseball players are better off today than they were when Michael first walked into the MLBPA offices in 1988. Michael fundamentally believed that workers –in all facets – deserved a voice on the job. Michael was widely respected for his love for family, infectious personality and his brilliance. The MLBPA and the players want him to be remembered as a champion for all workers seeking an opportunity to better their lives.