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ATU Awards Larry Hanley Scholarships

The following students, beginning post-secondary education in the 2022-2023 academic year have been awarded ATU scholarships in the memory of our former International President Larry Hanley. Excerpts from their essays appear after their bios below:


Elise C. Armstrong – Elise C. Armstrong, the daughter of Ronald H. Armstrong, Local 241-Chicago, IL, is attending Augusta University in Georgia, planning to major in Chemistry. Elise, a member of the National Honors Society and her school’s speech club, ran track and was a team lead for the school’s club Girls with Purpose. 

“There is no secret that the nature of work is changing in a global economy, making labor unions more critical than they have ever been. Labor unions are the fighting force and backbone of the American economy and their primary focus is on the good fortune of their members.” 

Isabella Cedeño
– Isabella Cedeno, the granddaughter of Jesús R. Berio, Local 1181-New York, NY, is planning on attending Syracuse University in New York, majoring in Biomedical Engineering. Isabella, a Scholar Athlete in both track and field and junior varsity soccer, is also an A.P. and Honors student. 

“All in all, the effect that labor unions have had on our country is unsurmountable. They provide benefits for the workers, by way of compensation, workplace safety and leave time. They also benefit the country as a whole in being a key contributor to the economy by allowing for greater income rates and therefore the increased ability to spend. Without the institution of unions, people may still be working without representation.” 

Katie McBain
– Katie McBain, the daughter of Terry McBain, Local 1572-Mississauga, ON, is planning to attend the University of Toronto, and majoring in Humanities. Katie is a member of her school’s student council, a member of her school’s band, a classical pianist, and a competitive swimmer. 

“Organized labour has been a driving force of change in Canada for over 150 years. They are part of everyone’s lives, whether they are union members or not. It is not just their workers who they protect. Unions fight for better working conditions and labour laws, they provide scholarships and fundraise for worthy causes. Labour is what moves the world forward.” 

Kennedi Bickham
– Kennedi Bickham, the daughter of Kenneth Bickham, Local 241-Chicago, IL, is planning on attending the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, to study Business of Cinematic Arts. Kennedi is Vice President of the Student Council, a student ambassador, and captain of her school’s varsity dance troupe. 

“One of the byproducts of organized labor (that may be the most important of all) was the movements made to ensure fair treatment of minorities in America, which can be seen in today’s workplaces by the numerous opportunities being given. There is still lots of work to be done, but without organized labor, America would be set back in terms of inclusivity and equity for those in any labor forces.” 

Kwame Solomon
– Kwame Solomon, son of Kwame A. Solomon, Local 726-Staten Island, NY, is planning on attending PACE University to major in Digital Cinema and Film Making. Kwame, an honors student in calculus, Spanish, and physics, is also a host of a Diversity and Inclusion podcast. 

“After working for a union for two decades, my father often calls it a job made in heaven. He’s not the only one that’s a proud member of a labor union. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2021 over 15.8 million Americans work for labor unions. That’s 15.8 million people that are protected, valued, and benefit from the work of the organized labor unions.” 

Michelle Wong
– Michelle Wong, daughter of Andrew Wong, Local 113-Toronto, ON, is planning on attending the University of Toronto to major in Life Science. Michelle is a student leader who volunteers for various causes, including working with seniors as well as participating on her school’s varsity cross country and varsity swim teams. 

“Unions are trailblazers of change in and beyond the workplace. Since the take-off of the labour movement in Canada, unions have been and continue to be a pivotal, powerful voice that workers use to start conversations and bring change to action. In continuously raising the bar for working conditions, unions are active contributors to the welfare of all workers–unionized and non-unionized–and all people of Canada.”