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

NEW YORK, JUNE 8, 2021 – The Major League Baseball Players Trust today announced four recipients of the 2021 Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies, marking the seventh year it has provided support to aspiring worker advocates in the name of the former MLBPA executive director.

Each recipient will receive a $12,500 scholarship from the Players Trust to assist in academic costs for the 2021-2022 school year.

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.

“Mike Weiner understood that how and what we do to support ourselves greatly determines our health and happiness,” said Diane Margolin Weiner, wife of the late executive director. “We all must work to ensure that there is dignity and respect for every laborer, a safe workplace, and a living wage. The many recipients of the MLBPA’s Scholarship for Labor Studies are committed to this effort. Mike’s family is very grateful to the Players for honoring Mike’s life in this meaningful way.”

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

Georgia Decker – Fordham University School of Law Decker was initially inspired by her mother’s efforts in organizing her own workplace. Graduating in May 2022, she has already made a positive impact through her work with the Laundry Workers Center (LWC) in New York City. There she helped undocumented deli restaurant workers organize, while also working alongside labor lawyers fighting for the workers’ back pay. She hopes to represent workers as a either a union attorney or an employment attorney.

Katelyn Deibler – American University Washington College of Law Deibler has made it her priority to help educate immigrant workers on the benefits of labor organizing. Determined to halt the spread of misinformation on unionizing, she has worked with the National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project (NIWAP) to identify cases where undocumented female workers have been exploited by their employers. Upon her graduation in May 2024, she hopes to spend her career working on immigration policy changes that would further protect immigrant workers.

Victor On-Sang, Jr. – University of Miami School of Law A witness to the power of organized labor through his wife’s experience as a healthcare worker throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, On-Sang, Jr. was motivated to do his part to keep the labor movement alive and strong. At Florida International University, he is doing research to help unionize adjunct professors while continuing to hone his skills as a worker advocate. On-Sang, Jr. will graduate in May 2023 and hopes his career helps to build strong alliances and solidarity among all working people.

Shanelle Staten – Southern University Law Center A daughter to parents that have spent their lives helping others, Staten believed she was destined to do the same. Her interest in the labor movement was sparked during her fellowship at the Peggy Browning Fund where she worked to secure compensation for exploited mentally ill children at a Texas treatment facility. Upon graduation in May 2023, she hopes to work in compliance and special litigation within a firm, company or specifically the National Labor Relations Board.

“Michael Weiner spent his career successfully ensuring that the needs and interests of athletes were at the forefront within the vibrant economy of baseball,” said Amy Hever, Director of the Players Trust. “In honoring his life and legacy, the Players Trust proudly continues to invest in the futures of talented young professionals who are committed to workers right issues.”

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 Weiner are MLBPA Contract Administrator Cindy Abercrombie, Assistant General Counsel Bob Lenaghan, former General Counsel David Prouty and former Chief Operating Officer Gene Orza.

To date, the Players Trust has distributed more than $300,000 in scholarships to future labor leaders through the program. For more information on this year’s scholarship recipients and the legacy of Michael Weiner, please visit the Michael Weiner Scholarship page.