A high school teacher’s focus on the Mý Lai massacre inspired Carolyn York K’75 to eventually find her calling working for equal pay for women and people of color in the workplace. “He taught me to see the worth of every human being,” she says.
York heads the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), a coalition of labor, women’s rights, professional, and civil rights organizations working toward pay equity. She came to NCPE in a roundabout way. After earning a master’s degree at Cornell University, she worked as an assistant in the library. “One of my co-workers asked me to attend a meeting where Cornell employees were discussing forming a union,” York recalls.
That meeting led to finding her place in union work, including the United Auto Workers Union and the National Education Association from 2002 to 2018, from where York retired as director of the Department of Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy. “Throughout my career, the most satisfying moments have been helping employees win pay, benefits, or rights that made a real difference in their lives,” the Rockville, Md., resident says.
Read about other alumni who are making an impact in their professions and communities throughout the world.
As co-president of the Hamilton-Kirkland Class of ’75, York is a member of the Alumni Council. An Asian studies and history major, she once considered a career in teaching.
“One thing Kirkland taught me, however, was the value of finding out what doesn’t work for you,” she says. “It was a place where individual exploration was part of the fabric of the place. I took that sense with me into my adult life and career.”