For a little over six years—from high school throughout undergrad—Ben Mantle, who is one of five recipients of a 2018 Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies, worked as both a cook and dishwasher for local restaurants.
Mantle—whose parents are both union members—accredited his experience within the restaurant business as well as studying at the Industrial and Labor Relations School of Cornell University, as the springboard that helped him build upon his passion for labor relations.
“It really sort of clicked for me, that unions have an important role to play to make sure that folks are treated with respect, are paid fairly and get the benefits they deserve,” said Mantle, on why he chose a career path within labor union movement.
After his graduation from Cornell, the next phase in his journey came when an opportunity at UNITE HERE—a hotel and restaurant labor union that represents 270,000 working people across Canada and the United States—presented itself. It was one he eagerly accepted and ultimately helped place him on the road toward law school.
Mantle said his twelve year tenure at UNITE HERE gave him the ‘organizing bug’ and also highlighted that the power to get things done truly rests within the union’s members.
“It really showed me that people can achieve some really great things when they stick together,” he said. “Often at times, employers can try to discourage people from organizing or fighting for what they deserve. It’s been a real education and privilege to be able to fight alongside workers that are pushing back against that and standing up for one another.”
Today, Mantle, who is originally from Sackets Harbor, NY, finds himself attending the Fordham University School of Law.
Currently on track to earning his law degree, the moment he came across the Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies as well as Weiner’s legacy was at last fall’s Peggy Browning Fund Worker’s Rights Conference in Maryland.
“Mr. Weiner was a tremendous example of what a labor leader can be and it was a perfect opportunity to apply for the scholarship and try, in some small way, to carry on his legacy,” said Mantle.
Mantle—an avid surfer and Philadelphia Phillies fan in his free time—sees himself returning to UNITE HERE as an in-house counsel or working within a union-side labor unemployment law firm.
Nonetheless, Mantle is expressed his appreciation for being awarded one of this year’s scholarships.
“It makes a huge difference to me,” he said. ”I’m really honored to receive it, grateful for the MLBPA’s generosity and I’m just really, really grateful.”
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 2018.
To read Aaron Bibb’s scholarship feature, click here
To read Gabriel Frumkin’s scholarship feature, click here
To read David Huang’s scholarship feature, click here
To read Joaquin Recinos’ scholarship feature, click here