Speakers & Workshop Hosts

These speakers & workshop hosts attended the 2022 NLSWRC. Planning for 2023 will begin in summer 2023. Reach out to info@peggybrowningfund.org to join for next year!

Lucas Aubrey
has significant experience assisting clients under the National Labor Relations Act, the Railway Labor Act, and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. He regularly counsels the firm’s clients on collective bargaining negotiations, organizing campaigns, and internal union affairs. He also advises clients regarding the formation and operation of apprenticeship training programs and non-profit organizations. Lucas has litigated cases in federal and state trial and appellate courts, and before the National Labor Relations Board and other federal and state administrative agencies. He has also handled numerous arbitration matters. Lucas joined the firm as an associate in 2007 and became a partner in 2015. Lucas is an associate editor and chapter editor of the Developing Labor Law (ABA/BNA), a contributing author to the Employee and Union Member Guide to Labor Law, and he regularly teaches training classes for union representatives. Lucas also serves on the Board of Directors of the Peggy Browning Fund. Lucas graduated with honors from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review. He received his Bachelor of Arts from TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. Lucas is a member of the bars of the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia, and he is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, and several U.S. courts of appeals.

Michael Artz is an Associate General Counsel at the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME). He was AFSCME's lead in-house council in the Detroit bankruptcy case. Throughout his legal career he has represented labor unions, health and pension funds and individuals before courts, administrative agencies and arbitrators. He also developed, planned, implemented and supervised Presidential election voter protection programs in Virginia and Nevada. He received his undergraduate degree from Miami University (Ohio) and graduated cum laude from American University's Washington College of Law, where he also teaches legal rhetoric and writing as a law professor. He clerked for the Honorable Stephanie Duncan-Peters in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, then served as a legal fellow for the Service Employees International Union and as an associate attorney at Mooney, Green, Baker & Saindon in Washington, D.C. He was a Peggy Browning Fellow in 2000 and currently serves as a Board Member and Secretary for the Peggy Browning Fund and a member of its Conference Planning Committee.

Richard Brean - Since graduating from Harvard Law School, Richard Brean spent his entire career in the Legal Department of the United Steelworkers in Pittsburgh. During his first ten years in the Legal Department, he maintained a general labor practice. Starting in 1988, he devoted the bulk of his practice to NLRB litigation involving unfair labor practice strikes and unlawful lockouts. From 2009 to 2018, Mr. Brean served as USW General Counsel. He also supervised litigation performed by “the Steelworker family” of outside law firms. A long-time member of the Peggy Browning Fund’s Board of Directors, he was elected Chair in 2015. Mr. Brean is passionate about encouraging law students to pursue careers in public and private practice defending the rights of working people. Mr. Brean is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and a member of the Board of Directors of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee. He is a frequent speaker at programs sponsored by the LCC, the American Bar Association, and the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Kyle Campbell is Associate General Counsel for AFSCME. Kyle was first exposed to the labor movement in college while working on a local minimum wage campaign. After spending a summer as an organizer and Union Scholar with AFSCME Council 13, he knew there was no question he would dedicate his life to the labor movement. In law school, he was elected president of the Labor and Employment Law Society, and spent his first summer serving indigent clients in the Florida panhandle through Equal Justice Works' Rural Summer Legal Corps. He spent the spring semester of his 2L year as a full-time extern in AFSCME's General Counsel's office in Washington, D.C., where he learned invaluable skills and strengthened his commitment to the movement. Following a Peggy Browning fellowship in Los Angeles and several roles with workers' rights organizations in Alabama, Kyle returned to AFSCME after his law school graduation.

Melinda Ciccocioppo (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2012) is a Teaching Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. She has been involved with the effort to organize Pitt faculty since 2017, first, as a member of the volunteer organizing committee and currently as the chair of the USW Union of Pitt Faculty Communication and Action Team. She taught as an adjunct faculty member at several western Pennsylvania institutions before being hired full-time at Pitt in 2016.

Rachel Del Rossi is the new Executive Director of the Peggy Browning Fund.  Rachel has over 20 years of experience as a non-profit leader and community organizer, with a focus on public systems change, generational power shifts, and intersectional movement alliance.  She has a BA in US History and Public Policy from the Evergreen State College and a Master’s in Public Affairs from the Goldman School for Public Policy at UC Berkeley. 

Samantha Dulaney is General Counsel at IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical State Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States. Previously she served as the first In-House Counsel for IATSE. She is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center.

Timothy K. Eicher has focused exclusively on employee benefits law since he began his career, and advises clients on a wide range of compliance issues under ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, and related laws. Mr. Eicher has experience representing single employer and multiemployer defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans, health and welfare plans, and other ERISA-covered employee benefit plans. Mr. Eicher advises clients on various plan design and plan administration issues, including compliance with HIPAA’s privacy and security requirements, negotiating service provider contracts, managing employer withdrawals from multiemployer pension plans and navigating the plan merger process. He has extensive experience in negotiating complex investment management agreements, including arrangements for private equity placements and other alternative investment classes. Mr. Eicher has represented clients before the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Mr. Eicher is actively involved with the American Bar Association’s Employee Benefits Committee. Mr. Eicher also is a contributing author of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law’s treatise, Employee Benefits Law. He served as rewrite editor for the treatise chapter on multiemployer plan withdrawal liability, and contributes regularly to treatise updates. He serves as a continuing faculty member for the District of Columbia Bar Association’s ERISA Basics educational program, which he helped design. Mr. Eicher received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and served as a Senior Articles Editor for the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy. He graduated with high honors from Princeton University, where he received an A.B. in Classics, with a focus on ancient Greek and Latin literature. Mr. Eicher is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia.

Michelle Eisen is a theater artist and a member of Starbucks Workers United. In 2021, she and her co-workers in Buffalo, N.Y., formed the first Starbucks labor union in the U.S.

Seth Goldstein, Senior Business Representative and an attorney at Local 153, Office and Professional Employees International Union (“OPEIU”) has been working with the ALU sice April 2021.

Antonia Domingo is an Assistant General Counsel for the United Steelworkers. She works closely with Union staff and locals on a variety of collective bargaining and organizing issues. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 2015. As a law student, Ms. Domingo was a Peggy Browning Fellow at Greater Boston Legal Services and an AFL-CIO Law Student Union Summer Intern at United Food & Commercial Workers Local 75.

Fred Feinstein, former General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, is currently a consultant to unions and other worker advocacy organizations. From 2000 to 2014 he was a Senior Fellow and visiting professor in the Office of Executive Programs, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland. He has served on the UAW Public Review Board and the Labor Research and Action Network (LRAN) Advisory Board. During his nearly six-year tenure as NLRB General Counsel, Mr. Feinstein was recognized for efforts to improve the administration of the National Labor Relations Act. Prior to serving as NLRB General Counsel Mr. Feinstein was the Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the Labor-Management Relations Subcommittee of the United States House of Representatives on which he served for 17 years. He is a long-time member of the Advisory Board of the Peggy Browning Fund and PBF’s Conference Planning Committee.

Matthew Ginsburg is Associate General Counsel at the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). Prior to joining the AFL-CIO, he was an attorney at Cornfield & Feldman, a union-side labor law firm in Chicago, Illinois, and, prior to that, was a Skadden Fellow and staff attorney at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He clerked for Judge Diane P. Wood of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Mr. Ginsburg is a magna cum laude graduate of the New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar and a member of the Order of the Coif. He was a union organizer for several years prior to becoming a lawyer. He is also a member of PBF’s Conference Planning Committee.

Ian Hayes practices in all areas of labor and employment law. He received a B.A. from Fordham University and a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law. Before law school, Ian was an organizer with Service Employees International Union. Ian’s practice includes advising and representing unions in all matters, most recently by representing the Starbucks Workers United campaign and coordinating the campaign’s legal work. He regularly represents individual and groups of workers in wage and hour litigation, representing employees in discrimination and harassment actions, and representing employee benefit funds. He has extensive experience practicing at state and federal agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board, the New York Public Employment Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the New York Division of Human Rights. Ian has also represented clients in New York’s state court system, including at the Court of Appeals, as well as in federal court. He regularly appears as a panelist for legal conferences and as a guest lecturer to law students.

David Jury (J.D., The George Washington University Law School, 1995) is General Counsel of the United Steelworkers International Union, a position he has held since October 1, 2017. He has worked in the USW Legal Department since July 1996 and has appeared throughout his career in the federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts and before the National Labor Relations Board. He supervises a Legal Department consisting of 13 lawyers working in USW’s Pittsburgh headquarters. He is a member of Peggy Browning Fund’s Board of Directors.

Joseph Lurie, Founder and President of the Peggy Browning Fund, retired in 2010 as the Senior Partner in the law firm of Galfand Berger in Philadelphia, PA. His practice included union side labor, workers’ compensation and products liability cases. Some of the cases he handled have set national precedents. Mr. Lurie successfully represented injured workers before the United States Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. He tried several hundred cases in the County Court systems and various Federal District Courts throughout Pennsylvania. A member of the American Trial Lawyers Association, Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Associations, he has written and lectured extensively. Mr. Lurie is the founder of three non-profit agencies: The Pennsylvania Federation of Injured Workers, a support group for men and women who have been injured at work; Peggy Browning Fund, a memorial to his late wife, Margaret A. Browning, to educate law students on the rights and needs of workers; and Kids’ Chance of Pennsylvania, a scholarship fund for children of workers who have been seriously injured or killed while at work.

Eric Milner is an attorney with the law firm of Simon & Milner, Esqs., in Valley Stream, NY focusing on Union-side labor law since he graduated from Hofstra Law School in 2007 where he was a member of the Hofstra Law Review. In addition to his involvement in the Amazon organizing effort and the Staten Island representation election, Eric Milner has been an advocate for workers through his representation of several major local unions in the New York City Metropolitan area. He works closely with employees, union officials, and their members, representing local unions in collective bargaining, NLRB litigation, contract and discipline arbitration as well as in various matters before State and Federal Courts.

Ingrid Nava is Associate General Counsel for SEIU Local 32BJ, the largest labor union for property services workers in the country and a union with a large immigrant membership. Ms. Nava is also a founding board member of Justice at Work (jatwork.org), a legal services nonprofit organization serving immigrant worker centers in Massachusetts. She previously served as an employment lawyer for low-wage workers with Greater Boston Legal Services, where along with direct client representation, she provided legal counsel to immigrant worker centers. Prior to law school, Ms. Nava was an organizer for SEIU. She earned her JD from Northeastern University School of Law and her AB from Stanford University.

Mayoung Nham has been working with defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans, health and welfare plans, and training plans since graduating law school in 2007. Her experience includes advising clients on all aspects of employee benefits law, including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Internal Revenue Code, the Affordable Care Act, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Ms. Nham received her law degree from the George Washington University School of Law in 2007 and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Public Policy Studies and French Studies from Duke University in 2004.

Brian Petruska is counsel to the Laborers’ International Union of North America’s (LIUNA’s) Mid-Atlantic Regional Organizing Coalition, LIUNA’s dedicated labor-organizing fund for its Mid-Atlantic Region, which covers Pennsylvania to North Carolina and includes nearly 40,000 LIUNA members. He also serves as counsel to LIUNA-affiliated unions and labor-management funds in the DC Metro Area. His practice focuses on union organizing but also includes regulatory compliance issues common to most in-house counsel. Prior to working for LIUNA, he served as litigation counsel for two LCC law firms: Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, PC, in New York City and Slevin & Hart in Washington DC. During law school, he interned at Davis, Cowell, & Bowe, LLP, in San Francisco, and at UNITE’s Office of General Counsel in New York City. Mr. Petruska graduated from New York University Law School.

Alex Roe is Managing Counsel at AFL-CIO Union Lawyers Alliance. For 15 years, Alex served as Headquarters Counsel at the Communication Workers of America serving as a mentor for many Peggy Browning Fellows. Alex is a member on PBF's Conference Planning Committee.

Inga Schmidt is a Library Services Associate at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, where she leads programming and services for adults at the CLP-Beechview branch. She joined the organizing effort for a union at CLP in early 2019 as a member of the Communication and Action Team and was proud to see the campaign through the election petition, successful union vote, bargaining process, and contract ratification in 2022. She currently serves as the Financial Secretary for USW Local 9562.

Retu Singla is a community activist for over 30 years, a co-founder and board member of a low wage worker membership based non-profit before becoming a lawyer and has been a movement lawyer for over 20 years. She is a graduate of the New School for Social Research and the UCLA School of Law selected for training in its Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. To her, workers’ rights encompass a large array of human rights from the right to decent work and freedom of association to equal opportunity and protection against discrimination. Given the relationship between workers, employers, and the state, worker’s rights are where ‘business’ and ‘human rights’ most often intersect. I believe that fair treatment of workers is sound public policy and good business practice that society should value. My passion for the rights of workers alongside my experience and skills drive me to be a movement-oriented lawyer for working people. She has served as the Legal Director for the over 45,000 rank and file members of the Transport Workers Union, Local 100. She was also general counsel to a dissident slate of rank and file low wage Latinx warehouse workers who victoriously took over their historically corrupt union and brought democracy back. Ms. Singla believes that movement lawyering takes direction from directly impacted people and from organizers, as opposed to imposing legal expertise. It means building the power of the people, not the power of the law. As a movement lawyer I work within the larger civil rights and labor movement to help change the conditions that lead to worker exploitation so as to strengthen the grassroots base of the labor and civil rights movement. My practice is based on anti-oppressive and democratic principles to create an environment that mirrors progressive change that is movement centered. A highlight of Ms. Singla’s legal career is the honor of serving as the Amazon Labor Union‘s first general counsel, alongside her partner’s Jeanne Mirer and Ria Julien.

Christian Smalls is an American labor organizer known for his role in leading Amazon worker organization in Staten Island, a borough in New York City. He is the president and founder of the Amazon Labor Union since 2021.

Jay Smith is a shareholder in Gilbert & Sackman. He has represented labor unions and their members for over 35 years. He was previously a partner in the Birmingham, Alabama law firm of Cooper, Mitch, Crawford, Kuykendall & Whatley. Mr. Smith has represented the United Steelworkers for almost his entire legal career, and now serves as USW’s District Counsel for the eleven western states. He is also greatly honored to represent other militant and progressive labor organizations, including UNAC/UHCP, IATSE Locals B-192 and 768, AGVA, UFCW Local 324, many USW local unions and other local unions. He appears regularly in federal and state courts, before the NLRB and PERB, before arbitrators, and in collective bargaining negotiations. He also represents plaintiffs in class action litigation. He is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Alabama School of Law and has been a member of the Peggy Browning Fund’s Board of Directors since 2017.

Robin J. Sowards (Ph.D., Cornell, 2006) is a union organizer and researcher at the United Steelworkers, primarily assigned to the higher education sector. Before taking a role as a union staffer, he was on the volunteer organizing committee at Duquesne University, and went on to work on successful organizing campaigns at Point Park University and Robert Morris University, and then was lead organizer of the faculty campaign at the University of Pittsburgh. He teaches linguistics as an adjunct lecturer at Chatham University in Pittsburgh.

Marley Weiss received her B.A. from Barnard College and her J.D. from the Harvard Law School. Upon graduation, she practiced labor law for ten years with the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW). She was the first woman attorney hired into the UAW General Counsel's office. Since 1984, she has been a member of the faculty of the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, where she is Professor of Law. Professor Weiss also has taught at Eötvös Loránd Faculty of Law and at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and has supervised Maryland's international clinic students working in Mexico. She is a former Secretary of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, a past co-chair of the Section's Committee on International Labor and Employment Law, and a co-chair of the Section’s Committee on Immigration and Human Trafficking. She is a long-time member of the Peggy Browning Fund’s Advisory Board and its Conference Planning Committee.

Melissa S. Woods is Of Counsel to Cohen, Weiss and Simon, LLP in New York. She specializes in litigating labor and employment law matters before governmental agencies, and state and federal courts, on behalf of unions and individual employees. She also has extensive experience investigating allegations of discrimination and harassment and creating and conducting anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training programs. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Woods provided advice and counsel on various labor and employment related issues at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Civil Rights Bureau of the NYS Attorney General’s Office, and Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein. Most recently, Ms. Woods was the Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel at the New York City Commission on Human Rights. Ms. Woods graduated with honors from Wesleyan University and received her law degree from George Washington University School of Law.

Watch for ongoing updates. This list is being updated as we confirm.