For Julie Gilgoff, Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies recipient, it was her grandfather that inspired her passion for the labor movement.
“Although we never met, I like to believe that I took after him,” Gilgoff said recently. Her grandfather, Max Gilgoff, was a leader in both the American Labor Party and the Teachers Guild, which was the predecessor to the United Federation of Teachers in New York’s public schools. Like her grandfather, Gilgoff also became a teacher some years after college.
After working for IFPTE Local 21 (International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers), a public sector union in the San Francisco Bay area, the New York native decided to pursue a career as a labor lawyer at the CUNY School of Law.
“I was working as a political organizer at the union during the Occupy Movement and it reinforced my belief that I wanted to dedicate my life to fight for economic justice,” Gilgoff said. “Unions were the ones responsible for a 40-hour work week, paid overtime, and benefits on the job. If unions do not stay strong, income disparity will only increase.”
A common thread that Gilgoff shares with Michael Weiner, the late MLBPA executive director for whom the scholarship is named, is a compassion for working people and the desire to improve their day-to-day lives.
“I like getting to know every person that I meet, asking them questions about their families and getting to know who they really are,” Gilgoff said.
Last year, Gilgoff took a lead role in planning Staff Appreciation Day at the CUNY School of Law and spearheaded a project to interview the various workers at her school to better connect the school’s faculty, students and staff.
Aside from attending CUNY, Gilgoff enjoys spending time with her four brothers, nieces and mother who is a die-yard Yankees fan.
“My mother tells the story of visiting Yankee Stadium for the first time with her father when she was 8 years old after watching the game on her black and white television,” Gilgoff began. “She discovered with joy that the grass at the stadium was bright green instead of grey as she walked to her seats from the concourse.”
Just like the green grass at Yankee Stadium, Julie’s future in labor studies is sure to be a bright one.
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 2016 Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies will be posted in June 2015, at http://playerstrust.org/programs/michael-weiner-scholarship-labor-studies/
Click here to read about Michael Weiner Scholarship winner Akasha Perez.
Click here to read about Michael Weiner Scholarship winner Joseph Landry.