Lawrence Goun '15

Interests

Workers’ rights, health, disability

ILR Experience

Collective Bargaining and Labor Organizing Intern, American Center for International Labor Solidarity, Lima, Peru
Caretaker and Activity Coordinator, San Juan de Dios Health Clinic, UBELONG, Cusco, Peru
International Disability Policy Research Intern, Israeli Commission for Equal Rights for Persons With Disabilities
President, Cornell Union for Disability Awareness
Lawrence, who describes his credit internship in Peru as “pretty unorthodox,” says, “It’s important for people to focus on their interests and find the right opportunity, even if it’s a little out of the ordinary. Just go for it, because it can be a lot of fun and a valuable work experience.”

American Center for International Labor Solidarity (The Solidarity Center)

As an intern at The Solidarity Center, I conducted interviews with prominent figures in the Peruvian Ministry of Labor and met with labor leaders and business owners. It was really empowering to speak to them. Your average Peruvian only has the opportunity to read what these people have to say in a newspaper, but I was lucky enough to get firsthand testimony from the government, labor, and business perspectives.

I also read reports and spoke directly to workers who felt intimidated and discriminated against, which made me think about the dire need for a worldwide discussion on labor rights. Their stories go untold, and consumers rarely think about the types of jobs that their purchases support. My ILR education provided a framework for understanding the economics behind trade and allowed me to ask questions and read through laws, news and collective bargaining agreements to understand the issues facing workers around the world.

Future Plans

I’d like to study for a master of public policy or public administration degree, but before I go to grad school, I want some work experience. I began working for United Steelworkers (USW) in Pittsburgh, PA this summer as a technician in its Collective Bargaining, Research, and Benefits department. I'm helping conduct research and benefits analysis for negotiations with several major manufacturing companies. While I sometimes find myself overwhelmed with the magnitude of the work, I'm lucky to have 3 other ILR graduates that are helping me adjust to the union and its work: Cary Burnell MILR ’87, Chad Apaliski MILR ’98, and Patrick Young BSILR ’06.