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Lela Klein

Lela Klein is the co-founder and executive director of the Greater Dayton Union Co-op Initiative (GDUCI), an incubator for worker-owned businesses that broaden economic opportunities and strengthen blue-collar communities. She is also a Board Member and organizer with the Gem City Market project, which aims to bring a full-service cooperative grocery store to the food desert in Northwest Dayton, Ohio.  Prior to co-founding GDUCI, she was General Counsel of the IUE-CWA, a 45,000-member manufacturing union, where she led major strategic projects, advocated on behalf of working people, and created a mentorship program to foster leadership among young manufacturing employees. Lela was also an organizer and later an attorney with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). After witnessing the destructive impact of the global recession on American workers, Lela returned to her hometown of Dayton, Ohio, in 2012 to use her legal and organizing training to build innovative, worker-centered solutions. Lela is thrilled to have been named a 2017 Echoing Green fellow, and she holds a JD from Harvard Law School.