Like fellow recipients of a Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies, Melissa Britton understands and appreciates the close relationship between worker rights and civil rights that defines organized labor’s important role in advancing social justice.
“I have a strong passion for labor, employment, and civil rights law, and I am dedicated to working towards social justice,” Britton said, who is who is among the five winners of a 2017 Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies recently announced by the Major League Baseball Players Trust.
The New York City native has taken part in the Peggy Browning Fund’s fellowship program designed to inspire the next generation of law students to become advocates for workplace justice. While pursuing her Master’s Degree in Labor Studies at City University of New York, Britton also gained practical experience while serving as an intern at UNITE HERE!, Local 100.
Britton’s advanced classroom work and day-to-day experience in contract enforcement, gave her an appreciation for the high level of representation the Major League Baseball Players Association provides for its members.
“The work of the MLBPA is very important because it represents players for grievances, arbitration, and salary negotiations,” Britton said. “As a research intern with UNITE HERE!, Local 100, I investigated grievances and maintained employees’ files for mediation, arbitration, and labor-management meetings. I acquired great advocacy skills from these experiences and I understand the importance of employees having union representation.”
During her time at CUNY, Britton also served as a union representative for the New York State Nurses Association, where she worked with nurses, elected officials, and community coalition partners to advance healthcare services and labor conditions.
Those experiences seeded Britton’s desire to attend law school where she could put herself in better position to advocate for social justice and civil rights.
As a recipient of the Players Trust’s Michael Weiner Scholarship who is using the award to help support her academic goal of obtaining her J.D. at CUNY School of Law, Britton has also come to appreciate the many ways in which the Players Association’s collective charity helps advance social justice around the world – from supporting young leaders like herself to the development of grassroots programs created by the players to help others in need.
“The work of the Players Trust is important because it provides opportunities to people and underserved communities and supports meaningful charities,” Britton said. “I believe that the work of the Playerss Trust is essential to understanding fundamental social issues and for working towards social justice.”
Britton, whose favorite player is Jackie Robinson, intends to practice labor and employment and civil rights law after graduation.
To be eligible for the Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies, individuals must be Graduate or Law Students enrolled in accredited educational institutions in the United States or Canada and must have a demonstrated interest and aspire to a career working in the labor movement and on behalf of workers’ rights.
To receive an award, eligible candidates must meet a combination of criteria including a superior academic record, a demonstrated commitment to the labor movement, a strong recommendation from an academic or a labor/worker’s rights practitioner, and an excellent display of written and oral communication skills.
Preference also is given to those who can demonstrate financial need through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) scores or otherwise.
The scholarship application for the 2018 Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies will be posted here in July 2017.
To read Colleen Fewer’s scholarship feature, click here
To read Samantha Groark’s scholarship feature, click here
To read Susannah Maltz’s scholarship feature, click here
To read Tyler Somes’ scholarship feature, click here