Dr. Jessica Cook
became the Director of the Center in August 2016. She began her work with the Center as the Lead Instructor in January 2016. Jessica has more than 10 years experience organizing with unions, first as a staff organizer in the UNITE HERE international from 2006-2009, and then for 7 years as a leader and steward with the UIC Graduate Employees's Organization (IFT-AFT Local 6297) while working as a graduate instructor in Sociology. She has also worked closely with local worker centers since 2009. Jessica has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her doctoral research focused on the labor movement, worker centers, mass incarceration and criminalization, immigration, citizenship, race and ethnicity, civil society, precarious work, and labor market restructuring.
joined the Labor Center in August of 2017 as the new Associate Director, bringing more than 20 years of experience as both an educator and union leader. Steve has taught in the social studies department at Niles West High School since 1995 and prior to that he spent four years teaching in the Chicago Public Schools. In recent years Steve has served as a volunteer coach for the Labor Center’s high school collective bargaining simulations. In addition to teaching, Steve began working in union leadership in 1997 and has served as the President of the North Suburban Teachers Union, IFT-AFT Local 1274, since 2010. He is also one of 40 elected Vice Presidents of the IFT and serves on its Executive Committee.
Our Advisory Committee is comprised of former students and labor leaders who support the Center's programming. Below are the current members: