ILR Sponsors Social Justice Career Fair
Fresh out of Hofstra University, Rosemary Fantozzi was flying around the country as a coast-to-coast union organizer in 2005.
Fantozzi worked 14-hour days, sometimes sleeping in a rented Pontiac Sunfire. She went 31 days with no day off. She also helped 12,000 Houston city employees get a union.
Triage is exhilarating.
It is also exhausting.
Fantozzi, a first-year student in the MILR (Master of Industrial and Labor Relations) program, reflected on the dead-run pace of her organizing days during a stop at the Union Days Social Justice Career Fair April 10 in Ives Hall. She juxtaposed the spring fair with an autumn career fair, where Fortune 500 companies set up in the Statler Hotel.
"The vibe is a lot different," she said. "This is much more down to earth. You have these tables plopped in the hallways, paper versus cloth tablecloths."
Fantozzi is poised to try the work style promoted off cloth tablecloths. This summer, she will work as a compensation analyst for Johnson & Johnson, whose recruiters she met at the Statler fair.
She is considering law school as the next step in a career possibly headed towards combining the cloth and paper worlds. "International and comparative labor – I’m interested in exploring both sides."
Fantozzi said she would encourage student colleagues to experience the paper world and its demands -- "the sheer hard work, the time, the energy, the mental preparedness, the strategic focus."
As a union organizer, "you have to be absolutely relentless," said Fantozzi, who anticipates a relatively stable lifestyle as a corporate human relations employee at Johnson & Johnson.
Seventy-five students circulated through the Union Days career fair, trading resumes for buttons, pens, stickers and summer job tips from recruiters representing more than 10 organizations.
"There's a lot of competition among unions for the same qualified people," said Scott Phillipson of the Service Employees International Union. He works in the Syracuse office as assistant to the president.
Phillipson said he is always throwing out a hook – be it skiing, short commutes or great housing prices – which might attract recruits to Central New York, despite its climate.
Puja Gupta, a researcher in ILR’s Department of Labor Education Research, stopped by the career fair April 10. The fair helps students understand social equity and its role in the global workplace. The fair is held annually in conjunction with Union Days events, which bring labor, policy and political leaders to ILR.
Thirty yards from Gupta, Andrew Wolf ’10 handed out information for the Cornell Organization for Labor Action, a student-based group.
Wolf, who transferred last fall to ILR from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, shared his plans for the following week: "A bunch of us are skipping school and going to Albany to lobby for workers who get cyclically laid off."