By Katie Vloet
When 1L Joe Michaels was just nine years old, he joined his family on the picket line at the Detroit News and Free Press during the mid-1990s strike by union members. They walked in honor of the boy's great-grandfather, who was a printer with the News in the 1930s.
Which is to say: His union roots run deep.
He'll continue that legacy with a fellowship this summer from the Peggy Browning Fund. During the 10-week fellowship, he will work for UAW International Union in Detroit, primarily writing and conducting research.
"It's been a dream of mine to be involved in the union movement like this, especially the UAW, given my family's history," said Michaels, whose grandfather was a member of UAW Local 652 in Lansing.
Michaels' undergraduate and law school experiences both reflect his interest in the labor movement. He earned degrees from Wayne State University in labor studies and economics. He then spent three years as a union organizer for the Civil Service Employees Association in New York state, where he worked on campaigns to help workers in a variety of industries build their first unions.
At Michigan Law, he is a workers' rights coordinator, along with 2L Meredith Garry, in the Michigan Immigration and Labor Law Association. Garry first told Michaels about the Peggy Browning Fund and suggested that he apply; last year, she was awarded one of the organization's fellowships, and she worked with the CLEAN Carwash Campaign in Los Angeles.
The Peggy Browning Fund will support nearly 70 public-interest labor law fellowships nationwide, chosen from a field of more than 500 applicants from 125 participating law schools. The not-for-profit organization was named in memory of Margaret A. Browning, a union-side attorney who was a member of the National Labor Relations Board.
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