Scholarship Honors the Life and Work of the MLBPA’s Late Executive Director
NEW YORK, June 28, 2023 – The Major League Baseball Players Trust today announced five recipients of the 2023 Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies, marking the ninth 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 2023-2024 school year.
“The Weiner Family is grateful to the Players for honoring Mike's memory with their annual graduate level scholarships to students committed to protecting and enhancing workers’ rights,” said Diane Margolin, wife of the late executive director. “We send our heartfelt congratulations to the 2023 recipients.”
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.
“Michael Weiner Scholars represent an exceptionally talented group of students”, said Amy Hever, Director of the MLB Players Trust. “Our signature event is an opportunity to not only recognize each member of the 2023 scholarship class, but also welcome them into our broader Players Association and Players Trust family, where they can gain valuable relationships and mentorship from fellow alumni as well as the many labor lawyers within our organization.”
The following scholars have been selected for their achievement and commitment to pursuing careers dedicated to improving workers’ lives:
Hannah Cohen Smith – University of Michigan
Hannah is a rising third year student at the University of Michigan Law School. She attributes her commitment to workers’ rights to watching her father advocate for educators as president of his local teachers’ union, the Seminole Education Association in Florida. During law school, Hannah has worked as a Student Attorney in Michigan's Workers' Rights Clinic and served as Co-President of the Women Law Students Association, and she currently serves on the grievance committee of the graduate student employees' union, GEO #3550. After law school, Hannah hopes to represent workers and unions, and continue fostering a pipeline of labor law leaders.
Krishnan Sethumadhavan– New York University
Krishnan's passion for organized labor originated from his background as the son of immigrants from India, where family members have been active in the trade union movement. While working as a consultant, he saw the stark differences in the rights and benefits enjoyed by unionized workers and the unorganized, which inspired him to go to law school. At NYU, Krishnan has participated in the Coalition for Labor Action by Workers and Students, a worker solidarity group helping NYU employees unionize and fight for better contracts. He is a Board member of the Law Students for Economic Justice and was a Peggy Browning Fellow at the National Treasury Employees Union last summer. After graduation, he plans to work in the labor movement, either as in-house counsel or at a union-side labor law firm.
Nicolette Moore – City University of New York
As the daughter of transport workers who were involved with unions, Nicolette became passionate about labor rights issues after seeing the abuses her parents endured at work. As an undergraduate at Georgetown University, she pursued a degree in international politics and Latin American studies. As a student at CUNY Law, she was a Peggy Browning Fellow at Farmworker Justice, where she supported litigation on behalf of agricultural workers suffering workplace exploitation. She has also worked as a law clerk at New York State United Teachers, where she saw firsthand the role that labor attorneys can play in furthering workers’ rights. This summer, she will be a Peggy Browning Fellow at the labor-side firm Gladstein, Reif & Meginniss.
Shiva Sethi – Georgetown University
Shiva's passion for the labor movement came from his work fighting against poverty. Before law school, he worked for an anti-poverty nonprofit and he helped sign up D.C. residents for food assistance. He believes building a strong labor movement is essential to fighting poverty and injustice. Through his work at Georgetown's Worker's Rights Institute and Department of Labor, he has advocated for safer workplaces and fairer bargaining procedures. Shiva plans to practice as a trial litigator after law school.
Tascha Shahriari-Parsa – Harvard University
When Tascha was 18, he worked at a minimum wage job for several months amid hazardous conditions. Many of his coworkers had labored under appalling conditions for decades just to put food on the table. As Tascha helped organize a union, he discovered the power in workers coming together and demanding changes to their working conditions. He continued organizing and, after graduating from college, represented 1,000 passenger service workers at SFO Airport as an organizer with SEIU-USWW. He is now pursuing graduate degrees in law and public policy at Harvard, where he has focused on efforts to reform labor law. Tascha will continue fighting to eliminate the injustices that he has experienced and witnessed—towards a world where every worker has a fair wage, a voice, and dignity at work.
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.
Scholarship recipients are selected by a committee made up of some of those who were closest to Weiner, both professionally and personally. Serving on the committee along with Margolin are MLBPA Contract Administrator Cindy Abercrombie, Assistant General Counsel Bob Lenaghan, General Counsel Ian Penny, and Outside Counsel Jeff Fannell.
To date, the Players Trust has distributed $450,000 in scholarships to future labor leaders through the program. Past scholarship recipients have put their passion for the field into action, having gone 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.
About the Players Trust
Established in 1996, the Major League Baseball Players Trust is the charitable arm of the Major League Baseball Players Association. The Players Trust is a 501©3 non-profit organization that harnesses the expertise, influence, and passions of players to create meaningful and sustainable change in the lifelong well-being of others. The organization amplifies the social impact of players throughout the communities where they live, play, and call home, impacting thousands of nonprofits and individuals around the world. For additional information, please visit www.playerstrust.org. Follow the Players Trust on Twitter and Instagram (@MLBPA).