Thomas Erikson

Summer 2014

Year: ILR '14

Cornell Activities/Groups/Affiliations/Leadership Roles:

  • Alpha Tau Omega
  • COLA (Cornell Organization for Labor Action) – Secretary
  • ILR Ambassador
  • Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity

Project: Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. Memorial Internship

Describe your research project: As one of the Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. Memorial Fellows, the research I have been conducting has focused on the work of Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. in terms of the labor movement and young workers during his lifetime as well as his career as a labor leader. In addition, the second part of the paper focuses on how a variety of unions today can empower these young workers to strengthen the labor movement as they work towards the future.

What have you gotten out of the experience so far? Researching and discussing my project with expert faculty at the Worker Institute has been a very valuable experience. I have been learning from experienced people in a working environment, gaining new knowledge and skills that I am able to apply towards my future, and have been challenging myself in the work that I am assigned. In addition, I am learning about a variety of different labor unions and analyzing their own unique strategy for helping the labor movement in order to take back the respect and power it once held.

What kind of student might be interested in a research fellowship at the Worker Institute? The Worker Institute provides the opportunity for students to conduct research on a number of crucial topics that exist today. Students with the passion and respect for workers' rights, trade unionism, and the labor movement will be able to research and learn about these interesting topics, while working alongside expert faculty. Like myself, students involved in social justice with support for the labor movement will be able to further their passion through the Worker Institute.