Board of Directors

laurie burgessLaurie Burgess

In-House Counsel, California Teachers Association

As a union, labor, and plaintiff side employment lawyer, Laurie has litigated cases before every labor board agency in Illinois and has successfully tried numerous jury cases in Federal and State Court in areas including ERISA, constitutional challenges to employment practices, the ADA, FMLA, and all areas of Title VII employment discrimation. A tireless advocate for worker centers and the labor movement, Laurie established her own firm, Burgess Law Offices, P.C. in Chicago in 2008. Read More Her firm represents public and private sector unions in traditional labor law matters and litigating civil rights cases on behalf of individuals and classes in federal and state court. Laurie currently serves Union Chair of the ABA’s Labor and Employment Subcommittee on Immigration and is an Executive Committee member of the NLG Labor and Employment Committee. She actively participates on the Developing Labor Law Alternative Dispute Resolution, Employee Rights & Responsibilities, and NLRB Practice and Procedure Subcommittees.  She has also served on the Board of Directors of the AFL-CIO Labor Lawyers Committee.  In December 2013, Laurie joined the California Teachers Association as in-house counsel,
where she continues to advocate on behalf of union members.

Laurie has taught courses on various labor issues at the University of Illinois, has taught trial practice and procedure at the National Labor College, and is a frequent speaker on labor and employment matters at venues around the country including her alma mater, Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Gabriela Domenzain

Director of Public Engagement, Martin O’Malley for President


Agnieszka Fryszman

Partner, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC


Jon HiattJonathan Hiatt

Chief of Staff & Executive Assistant to the President, AFL-CIO

Jonathan Hiatt is the Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to the President of the AFL-CIO. He was appointed to the position in September, 2009, by the Federation’s newly-elected President, Richard L. Trumka. Prior to this appointment, Hiatt served for fourteen years as the General Counsel of the AFL-CIO. He was appointed to that position by then-President John J. Sweeney upon Sweeney’s election as President, and served as General Counsel during Sweeney’s entire tenure. Hiatt had previously served eight years as General Counsel to the Service Employees International Union, based in Washington, D.C., where he directed the International Union’s legal department. Read More

Before that, he was a partner in a union-side labor law firm in Boston, Massachusetts, Angoff, Goldman, Manning, Pyle, Wanger and Hiatt. He joined the firm in 1974, after graduating from Berkeley Law School (University of California) and Harvard College. He currently lives with his family in the Washington, D.C. area.

Elizabeth OconnorElizabeth O’Connor

Strategy Consultant, UNI Global Union Project in Mexico; and Ph.D. Candidate, CIDE (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas)

Elizabeth O’Connor has spent nearly 18 years working with labor and social movements in the US, Mexico and Central America.  Read More Most recently she has worked with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a union which represents 2.2 million workers, among which are 250,000 immigrants from Mexico.  She has spent the past 5 years in Mexico City, where she opened SEIU’s Mexico office and coordinated a campaign to improve working conditions for janitors and service sector workers in that city.  She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Government and Public Policy at the Facultad Latino Americano de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), in Mexico.

Sarah Paoletti, Board President

Practice Professor and Director of Transnational Legal Clinic, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Sarah Paoletti is a Practice Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she founded and directs the Transnational Legal Clinic.  From 2003-2006, she was a Practitioner-in-Residence in the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the Washington College of Law American University, where she also taught a seminar on the labor and employment rights of immigrant workers. Read More Her areas of expertise include international human rights, immigrant and migrant rights, asylum law, and labor and employment law.  She has written on and presented on the intersection of migration and international human rights, particularly as it relates to the labor rights of migrants in the U.S., before Committees of the United Nations, the Organization of American States and at different conferences.  She was a staff attorney at Friends of Farmworkers, Inc., a statewide legal services program serving migrant workers in Pennsylvania, where she was an Independence Foundation Public Interest Fellow, as well as a Skadden Fellow (1998-1999, 2000-2003), and currently serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors for that Organization.  She also serves as President of the Board of Directors of Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (Center for Migrant Rights, based in Mexico City).  From 1999 to 2000, she was a law clerk for the Hon. Judge Anthony J. Scirica, U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit.  She received her JD from the Washington College of Law American University (summa cum laude) in 1998, and her B.A. from Yale University in 1992.


Ana Polanco

CEO, Polanco Consulting; and Co-Founder, Si Tú Quieres, LLC

Ana is a certified professional coach and organizational development strategist working with organizations and individuals to strengthen and advance purpose driven missions. With over eighteen years of experience working with international and domestic membership based organizations, Ana supports leaders to reimagine how their ideas can have social impact. Read More Using a wide range of campaign, organizational development and coaching techniques, Ana guides leaders to develop values driven approaches to the change they want to create in the world. Before becoming a social entrepreneur, Ana had the privilege of working at Amnesty International USA, UNITE HERE International Union and the AFL-CIO’s Labor Council for Latin American Advancement to elevate human rights and political issues facing workers and their families. Ana has been recognized for her efforts to advance worker’s rights, advocate for gender and racial equality, expand support for immigration reform, and other important social causes.

Ana Polanco has a Bachelor’s degree from American University in Washington, DC and a Juris Doctor from the University Of Wisconsin Law School in Madison.  Ana is an alumni of Leadership That Works, The Social Transformation Project, Rockwood Leadership Institute and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

Cynthia Rice, Board Treasurer

Director of Litigation Advocacy & Training, California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc