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Five students to receive the 10th annual 2024 Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies

Scholarship Honors the Life and Work of the MLBPA’s Late Executive Director

NEW YORK, June 4, 2024 – The Players Trust today awarded the 2024 Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies to five exceptional law students.  The announcement marks the 10th year that the MLBPA’s charitable arm 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 2024-2025 school year.

“I first met Michael as a player nearly 30 years ago and was honored to count him as a close friend and mentor,” said MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark. “His decades of service to Players as first a lawyer and eventually executive director have left an indelible impression of vigorous, impassioned advocacy and integrity — not just on behalf of our Player fraternity, but the broader labor movement. I know Michael would feel a personal connection to each of these outstanding scholarship recipients who represent the next generation of labor leaders.”


Weiner, known for his keen intellect and plain-speaking, congenial demeanor, joined the MLBPA as a staff attorney in 1988 and in December 2009 succeeded Donald Fehr to become the union’s fourth executive director. He held the position until November 2013, when at age 51 he passed away following a 15-month battle with an inoperable brain tumor.


“After Mike’s tragic passing, the MLBPA approached me with the idea of honoring him through this scholarship program to aid students interested in becoming professionals focused on labor-side advocacy, and I couldn’t have been more pleased,” said Diane Margolin, wife of the late executive director.  “In addition to honoring principles that mattered most to Mike, this program reflects his role as a teacher, and his uncanny ability to break down complex issues in ways that all workers could understand.” 


“The Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies is a foundational element of the philanthropic programs we offer through the Players Trust,” said Amy Hever, Director of the Players Trust. “We are proud to keep Michael’s memory alive through this initiative that in only 10 years, has had a significant impact on labor rights in America. The five students selected for 2024 are among the strongest class of Michael Weiner scholars we have seen, and I know that the labor movement will be well-served by their future work.”

The following scholars have been selected for their achievement and commitment to pursuing careers dedicated to improving workers’ lives:


Soledad Slowing-Romero: Soledad is a first-generation immigrant from Guatemala. Her passion for labor rights and economic justice originated from witnessing the workplace abuses and wage theft that immigrants in her home state of Iowa endured in the meat packing industry. Soledad earned her undergraduate degree in History and Latin American Studies from Amherst College. At Yale Law School, Soledad has been a member of the Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, where she represents workers and labor organizations through litigation and legislative advocacy.  After law school, Soledad plans to return to the Midwest to work as a labor and employment rights lawyer.


Teddy Watler: Teddy is a rising third-year student at Yale Law School. His commitment to the labor movement grew while serving as a delegate for the American Guild of Musical Artists. He later organized healthcare workers and professional performing artists in unions. At Yale, Teddy is a law student intern in the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic, a Ludwig Fellow, and an organizer with Local 33—UNITE HERE, Yale’s graduate worker union.  Teddy is committed to a career fighting for economic justice and believes in the power of organizing people.


Elyse Weissberger: Elyse's interest in serving the labor movement was sparked by her first-hand experience as a farmhand at a dairy and then as a bartender and waitress. Working alongside undocumented migrant laborers and people holding several jobs to provide basic needs for their families, she became aware of an unacceptable imbalance of power. At Harvard Law School, Elyse has focused on addressing this imbalance and ensuring that the voices of working people are heard.  


Sarah Aceves Stenger: Sarah is a rising third-year student at UC Davis Law School. Her passion for worker justice stems from her family’s history in labor unions and her father’s advocacy in the United Farm Workers’ Union. During law school, Sarah has worked as a student counselor and director of the Workers’ Rights Clinic, assisting California workers and representing them in front of the Labor Commissioner. Recently, she volunteered with Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center to assist undocumented workers with their Deferred Action for Labor Enforcement applications. After law school, she plans to dedicate her career to improving the lives of working people. 


Emily Luong: Emily Luong developed a passion for the labor movement at a young age, observing the working conditions of her mother (a public school teacher) and community members in San Jose, many of whom were Vietnamese refugees and immigrants. At UCLA, she minored in Labor Studies, was involved in Southeast Asian student organizing and served in student government. As a rising 2L at NYU Law, she is the incoming Community Activism Co-Chair for the Asian-Pacific Allied Law Students Association and a board member for Law Students for Economic Justice. This summer, she will be a Peggy Browning Fellow at the National Employment Law Project and is excited to embark on a career supporting workers as they organize to build power.


The Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies program launched in July 2014 to honor 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.


Scholarship recipients are selected by a committee made up of colleagues who were close to Weiner, both professionally and personally. Serving on the committee along with Margolin are MLBPA Contract Administrator Cindy Abercrombie, Assistant General Counsel Bob Lenaghan, Senior Advisor Ian Penny, and Outside Counsel Jeff Fannell.   


To date, the Players Trust has distributed nearly $500,000 in scholarships to future labor leaders. Past scholarship recipients have put their passion into action, going on to serve organizations such as the U.S. Department of Labor, Building and Construction Trades Councils, and many School Employee Associations. For more information on this year’s scholarship recipients and the legacy of Michael Weiner, please visit the Michael Weiner Scholarship page.


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