People at ILR

Iris Packman
people / faculty

Iris Packman

Senior Research & Policy Development Associate


Iris Packman, Esq., is a Senior Research & Policy Development Associate at Cornell University’s ILR School Climate Jobs Institute.

Packman has two decades of experience in the labor movement as a labor lawyer, strategic campaigner, and organizer. At CJI, Iris' research centers on the legal mechanisms for creating high quality, union jobs in the clean energy economy, as well as policy recommendations to ensure an equitable transition that centers frontline communities.

Before coming to the Climate Jobs Institute, Packman served as Deputy General Counsel for the Climate Jobs National Resource Center, where she advised union-led climate jobs coalitions and developed legislation to advance worker- and equity-centered climate policy at the local, state, and national levels. In that role, Packman worked closely with the Climate Jobs Institute team on advancing carbon-free & healthy schools, utility-scale solar, offshore wind campaigns, and expanding union pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs.

Previously, Packman served as Assistant General Counsel to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union where she advised the 1.3 million member union on a variety of legal and campaign issues including First Amendment challenges to employee protests at Walmart, writing legislation to create high quality, union jobs in the medical cannabis industry, and successfully persuading the NLRB General Counsel to extend NLRA protections to cannabis workers nationwide. She has a experience fighting for nontraditional workers' organizing rights, advocating for LGBTQ+ and pregnant workers, and developing strategic corporate research.

Iris has a J.D. from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law where she was a Leadership Scholar and received the Ward Kershaw Advocacy Prize for outstanding advocacy in a clinical setting. Iris earned her B.S. from Cornell's ILR School, where she was a Cornell Tradition Fellow and active leader in the Cornell Organization for Labor Action. She is admitted to practice law in New York, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, is an active member of the NYSBA and ABA, and sits on the Executive Board for the Ithaca Children's Garden and most recently, the City of Ithaca's Sustainability & Climate Justice Advisory Council.

Professional Activities

  • Background research on climate & jobs in PA. Presented to Pennsylvania AFL-CIO. Harrisburg, PA. 2023.
  • Background Research on Maryland's Labor and Climate Policies. Presented to Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO. Virtual. 2023.
  • Developing A Union Climate Jobs Plan For Massachusetts. Presented to Massachusetts AFL-CIO. Virtual. 2023.

Honors and Awards

  • University of Maryland Leadership Scholar, University of Maryland School of Law. 2012
  • Ward Kershaw Clinical Advocacy Prize, University of Maryland School of Law. 2011
  • Cornell Tradition Fellow, Cornell University. 2006