Pete Meyers, Coordinator
Pete Meyers is one of the Founders of the Tompkins County Workers’ Center (TCWC) which was founded formally as an organization in 2003 (then as the Tompkins County Living Wage Coalition).
Pete hails from South Bend, Indiana, where his parents were active against the Vietnam War and were active ‘housing testers’ (discerning whether housing was discriminatory in who would be rented out to). He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism at Point Park College in Pittsburgh, and not long after got a Master’s Degree in Existential Phenomenology Psychology at Duquesne University, also in Pittsburgh.
He moved to Brooklyn, NY, for what would become his most formative work experience where he worked as a drug counselor for four years at William E. Grady Technical Vocational H.S. in Coney Island. During this stint, Pete traveled to Nicaragua during the Sandinista Revolution from the United States, an experience which, combined with working in the high school, helped to develop his politics in a Paolo Freirian direction.
While working at the High School After this four year stint, he then worked as the Produce Manager for four years at the Flatbush Food Coop, where he redistributed his wages for a year to the lowest paid staff in the Coop.
In 1993, Meyers moved back to South Bend for seven years where he became the Director of the Readmobile in the Public Library system. Within a month he was fired from his position when advocating for an Assistant that he would supervise who was African-American. Their cases both went to Federal Court in 1999.
In 2000, Meyers moved to Ithaca and immediately got a job at Catholic Charities of Tompkins/Tioga Counties as a Mentor in a Welfare-to-Work program. It was this experience of people being kicked off of welfare into minimum wage jobs that led Meyers to take a lead role in creating the Living Wage Coalition.
Meyers’ commitment is to be part of organizing a movement that will usher in the Beloved Community in real and tangible ways for the world’s population, starting first and foremost those in our immediate midst. We are ona move!
Chris Overmeer, TCWC Intern
Chris Overmeer is an undergraduate senior at Cornell University majoring in Industrial and Labor Relations while minoring in Philosophy as well as Italian. He initially majored in Philosophy while studying at St. Andrews in Scotland but decided to return to the United States to focus his attention on political and economic issues facing Americans. For this reason, he decided to join the Tompkins County Workers’ Center as an intern, to learn about local community labor issues but also to apply his education meaningfully. This includes helping to manage the worker’s hotline, ensuring that workers are aware of their rights, and directing them towards valuable resources to resolve workplace issues. In addition, he has been working on recertifying Tompkins County businesses as Living Wage Employers given the updated figures published by the Alternatives Federal Credit Union. Strongly believing in a person’s right to just and equal treatment and recognizing the imbalance in powers between business and labor, Chris was strongly moved by the tangible impact that the Tompkins County Workers’ Center has on individual worker’s lives as well as the labor movement in general. Through working at the Workers’ Center, he hopes to learn more about grassroots organizing and understand systemic inequities from the testimony of community members. With these experiences gained, he plans to go to law school with the intention of fighting for workers’ and union rights.
Deborah Clover, Bookkeeper/Office Manager
Deborah Clover is a lifelong resident of Central New York, growing up in the Syracuse suburb of Baldwinsville. Strongly influenced by her parents’ commitment to community service, she began her own activism and organizing as a teenager, working as a peer counselor for her hometown crisis hotline and organizing a guerilla theater group of teens and adults who performed throughout the greater Syracuse area during the early 1970s. In 1973, Deb moved to Cortland, and was hired by the Cortland County Health Department as an outreach worker for their newly started Family Planning Clinic. Thus began a long professional life which has combined administration, management, and finance work on the one hand with community organizing, training and technical assistance on the other.
She came to Ithaca in 1981 when she was hired by Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services where she helped start their Rental Rehabilitation Program. Over the years, Deb has also worked with Cortland County Community Action Program, the community-built playground firm of Leathers and Associates, New York Folklore Society, Cortland and Tioga Arts Grants Programs, Cornell University, Ithaca Community Acupuncture, and served as a consultant to the New York State Council on the Arts, Neighborhood Reinvestment, School to Main, and a number of small historical and cultural organizations. A common theme throughout her varied work has been a commitment to diversity, empowerment, collaboration, and inclusion.
Deb holds an A.S. in Social Sciences from TC3 and a B.A. in Folklore from Empire State College. She is passionate about issues of social justice and cultural equity and has a deep commitment to “living my life in a way which fosters equality, diversity and respect for all people.” Among her other interests and activities, Deb is a musician, craftsperson, Reiki practitioner, aromatherapist, and ordained interfaith minister.