Kurt Petersen is co-teaching Workers’ Rights Clinic during the Spring 2014 semester.
Petersen is the Director of Organizing at UNITE HERE Local 11, and the Director of Hotel Organizing for the Southwest Region of the UNITE HERE International Union. He holds a B.A. summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. from Yale Law School. After law school, he was awarded an Echoing Green Fellowship to work for the United Farm Workers of Washington State, where he led the campaign leading to the historic first farm worker collective bargaining agreement in the state of Washington at Chateau Ste. Michelle/Columbia Crest Winery. In 1995, he left the Yakima Valley for Los Angeles where he has organized hotel and food service workers for UNITE HERE.
Petersen has led successful efforts to pass living wage, worker retention, and service charge ordinances and has developed and coordinated legal strategies that have resulted in more than $15 million in settlements for hotel and food service workers. He has led numerous recognitional campaigns at workplaces throughout the southwest and bargained numerous contracts. Last year, he was awarded the Joe Hill Organizing Award.
Petersen is the author of The Maquiladora Revolution in Guatemala (Orville H. Schell, Jr., Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School, 1992).