Eric Katz is currently attending Cardozo Law School while simultaneously holding posts in various school organizations and as the Labor Caucus chair of NYSYD. There’s a calmness to Eric that would lead you to believe he’s not that busy until he casually mentions that he’s heading out of town for this or that conference, or he’s been granted this or that fellowship, or he’s working on a huge project for law school. Like many of us Eric was empowered by the elections of ’08, but he had started his political career earlier by writing about Congestion Pricing at The Albany Project. It was really only a matter of time before Eric was an active member of MYD.
But what’s really important to me isn’t how I first heard about MYD, it’s why I’ve stayed involved. I’ve had the chance to go to a lot of political groups and talk with a lot of people involved in politics, and I’ve never met a more welcoming, open, and friendly group as MYD. The atmosphere is unlike anything I’ve experienced in the political world. People at MYD want to get to know you, befriend you, and get you involved. They check their egos at the door and they work together to get stuff done while having a good time. That’s the environment that keeps me coming back.
In the summer of 2010 at the NYSYD Convention Eric was elected Labor Caucus Chair, a cause that he has dedicated his studies to.
I’m a labor guy and I went to law school specifically to become a union-side labor lawyer. Unions and the labor movement are near and dear to my heart. My grandpa was a labor activist and communist and both of my parents have a lot of intimate experiences with unions on both sides of the table. We spend so much of the precious time of our lives at work, so justice and democracy on the job are crucial issues to me. If you have democracy on the job, you’ll always strive for democracy in all aspects of your life. And I truly believe that the labor movement is the best hope for workers to gain respect and justice in the workplace.
What’s so important to me about melding labor activism with young democrats is that too many of my generational colleagues don’t understand why labor is so important. We forget that the 8 hour day, the 5 day work week, and all sorts of benefits were forged on the backs of unions. We dismiss the notion of solidarity in the workplace and we assume that unions are for blue collar folks instead of those of us with secondary degrees. The fact is that labor and young professionals have all sorts of ideas and interests in common and we need each other. So in the long run, it’s critically important in my mind to help educate my fellow young democrats why labor is important to them.
With the current war against Organized Labor being waged in America it’s absolutely essential to have young people like Eric leading the march!
Do you have someone you’d like to nominate for MYD Member of the Week? Email me at taylor [at] gomyd.com!