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Our 2018 Labor Summer Interns Made a Difference, Get Ready for 2019!

Our 2018 Labor Summer Interns Made a Difference, Get Ready for 2019!

  • In 2018, the Labor Center welcomed 23 passionate and dedicated students to be part of the 17th Annual Labor Summer Internship Program.

    The interns began the program with five days of intensive training at the Labor Center in organizing and strategic research skills. They then had seven weeks of hands-on training, where they learned research skills and organizing tools used by worker organizations and unions to empower workers, develop new leaders, and create change.

    Are you a student interested in applying for the 2019 Labor Summer Program? Applications for the 2019 Labor Summer Program will be open January 2019! This year’s program dates are June 17-August 9, 2019.

    For more information about the program visit:

    For additional questions, students can contact

    What students said about their internship:

    “This overall experience taught me a great deal. For one, I learned a lot about the legislative process and how nuanced and procedural it is, and how many factors go into passing legislation. It’s one thing to learn about the laws, but to work with people actually trying to create the laws has been an invaluable experience.”

    “Labor Summer has helped me grow tremendously as an organizer, working on actual campaigns and gaining skills to use in other organizing as well.”

    “Labor Summer completely changed my perspective on the value and dignity of work, and has helped me learn what kind of work I aspire to do in the future.”

    What internship placement sites said about the program:

    “Jessica was completely invaluable to the kick-off of our West Oakland outreach and organizing. Despite the chaos and often last-minute planning, Jessica was extremely flexible and reliable. We would not have been able to contact as many people as we did (at least 200+) and collect as many surveys as we did without her. What was particularly exciting was that Jessica took ownership of the organizing, and played a lead role in not only engaging community members, but also training them in the rap and next steps.”
    -Sejal Babaria, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy

    “Michael demonstrated a high level of professionalism, cultural competency, determination, and quick wit, which allowed him to assimilate and learn new concepts, theories, and processes that have overall contributed to the progress and growth of our program participants and overall project.… I cannot praise Michael enough – he did a brilliant job!”
    -Monica Ruvalcaba, SEIU-UHW West & Joint Employer Education Fund

    “Julie was a fantastic intern and really contributed some creative and useful ideas, particularly the work she did on methods by which the organization can be more effective in connecting with its membership. The work she did on apprenticeships was also very useful.”
    -Kenneth Anyanwu, SEIU Local 1000

    Host an Intern in 2019!

    Please help us develop the next generation of labor leaders and activists! Host a Labor Summer intern from June 17-August 9, 2019. Applications will open January 2019. If you’re interested in hosting, please contact Alicia Flores at

    For more information about hosting an intern please visit:

    Can’t host an intern? Make a donation!
    Your donations help us place more students with community-based organizations working for social change and workers’ rights. These opportunities are especially important for students who can’t afford to participate in unpaid internships.

  • About this year’s interns

    Alfredo Trejo, Carnegie Mellon University- Master of Public Policy and Management
    Placement: California State University Employees Union (CSUEU)
    What Alfredo worked on: Alfredo wrote a 60-page report on findings and recommendations related to pay differences between men and women in the CSU system. CSUEU will be able to use the report as quantitative proof that gender inequality and wage inversion is occurring throughout the CSU.

    Ángela Castillo, UC Berkeley- PhD, Anthropology
    Placement: SEIU Climate & Environmental Justice
    What Ángela worked on: Ángela’s research was focused on understanding the relationship between where union members live and the existing pollution burdens in those areas. She used tools like CalEnviroScreen to learn what the Environmental Score is for those communities, and researched how their current job classification might be adapted to face the challenges of climate change.

    Chenchen Zhang, UC Berkeley – Master of Public Policy
    Placement: UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
    What Chenchen worked on: Chenchen wrote a policy brief about the different possible policy responses to the Supreme Court case, Janus v. AFSCME. Her policy brief explored different state-level legislative efforts.

    Colin Liu, New York University- Public Policy
    Placement: Chinese Progressive Association (CPA)
    What Colin worked on: Colin was assigned to work on a campaign in which CPA sought to recover $5 million in back pay for restaurant workers. He also supported CPA’s Hotel Vocational Training program (HVT). For both projects, Colin regularly conducted outreach sessions in Chinatown, during which he spoke with workers on the street, passed out flyers, and presented the projects at different workshops around the community.

    Dan Sakaguchi, Stanford University- Master of Science, Earth Systems
    Placement: UC Berkeley Labor Center
    What Dan worked on: Dan conducted research to support a report the Labor Center is preparing for the State Workforce Development Board on the relationship between jobs and workforce development and state climate legislation. He spent time analyzing occupations that will likely be affected under future climate regulations, and researching a “just transition” framework for transitioning workers out of the fossil fuel economy.

    Daniel Perez, UC Santa Cruz- Mathematics & Economics
    Placement: Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United)
    What Daniel worked on: Daniel supported ROC United’s research team in the publication of a restaurant industry analysis focused on New Mexico, which was one installment in a series of reports called Behind the Kitchen Door. Daniel’s research helped assess employment conditions of restaurant workers and analyzed all surveys as one large dataset for ROC United’s One Fair Wage campaign.

    Dominic Delfosse, UC Riverside- Anthropology
    Simran Thind, UC Berkeley- Ethnic Studies & Legal Studies
    Placement: SEIU Local 1021
    What Dominic and Simran worked on: Dominic and Simran assisted SEIU Local 1021 in an internal organizing campaign as the union organized non-members in Bay Area clinics and non-profit institutions after the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision. Dominic and Simran also supported the groundwork for a new external campaign organizing clinic workers into the union.

    German Calderon Leon, UC Santa Cruz- Sociology & Latin American and Latino Studies
    Placement: International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)
    What German worked on: German learned about the union’s efforts to organize California cannabis club workers and to get the cannabis clubs to sign Labor Peace Agreements. He also helped plan rallies, and supported the union in planning for next steps in contract negotiations at veterinary hospitals in San Francisco.

    Gustavo Ontiveros, UC Berkeley – American Studies
    Placement: North Valley Labor Federation (NVLF)
    What Gustavo worked on: Gustavo helped organize three Training to Educate and Activate Members (TEAM) trainings hosted by the NVLF. He also developed an independent project researching the charter school industry.

    Jessica Gonzalez, UC Berkeley- Geography & Political Economy
    Placement: East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE)
    What Jessica worked on: Jessica spent the summer supporting EBASE in organizing West Oakland community members in service of EBASE’s Port-Wide Campaign. She did in-person outreach, collected and entered data, facilitated a listening session, and trained others. Jessica also helped in collecting surveys from hotel workers, and recruited housekeepers for a worker story and spokesperson training for their Time’s Up campaign.

    Jorge Guitron, UC Berkeley- Ethnic Studies
    Karla Gutierrez, UC Berkeley- Social Welfare
    Placement: Raising Alameda
    What Jorge and Karla worked on: Jorge and Karla recruited center-based early childhood educators to attend trainings, helped identify potential worker activists and leaders, and visited sites to educate workers on the activities of Raising Alameda.

    Juliana Villalobos, UC Davis- International Relations
    Placement: SEIU Local 1000
    What Juliana worked on: Juliana worked on a variety of projects including making recommendations on how Local 1000 can use social media to reach its members more effectively. She also gained exposure to career development opportunities the union provides its members.

    Marshall Grasty, Santa Clara University School of Law- Law/Juris Doctor Candidate
    Placement: Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United)
    What Marshall worked on: Marshall conducted research to gauge where legislators stand on certain worker issues, and to gain a better idea of who would support future legislation.

    Michael Villegas, UC Berkeley- Master of Social Welfare
    Placement: SEIU UHW-West & Joint Employer Education Fund
    What Michael worked on: Michael was responsible for the case management of 22 students in the High Road to Healthcare Careers Program, which is a program that provides classes and career counseling to help workers advance in health care careers. His work helped allocate student support services and referral services outside the Education Fund to ensure the success of their program participants.

    Michelle Parra, UC Santa Cruz- PhD, Sociology
    Placement: California Pan-Ethnic Health Network
    What Michelle worked on: Michelle researched whether limited English proficient (LEP) Medi-Cal patients are able to access health care within a timely manner. She also created a guidebook listing possible federal, local, and Medi-Cal funding that schools can use to implement Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) services at schools.

    Olivia Amezcua, UC Berkeley- Sociology and Education
    Placement: Marin Association of Public Employees (MAPE)
    What Olivia worked on: Olivia supported MAPE’s collective bargaining efforts. After MAPE successfully completed bargaining, she interviewed 32 member leaders and asked them to survey 10 other union members to identify issues in their workplaces.

    Randy Menjivar, University of San Francisco- Master of Arts, Multicultural Education
    Placement: Ironworkers Local 377
    What Randy worked on: Randy spent the summer going on site visits with union staff and talking to ironworkers that work for non-union companies about the benefits of joining a union. He also registered new voters and implemented their first social media platform.

    Sally Chen, Harvard College- History & Literature and Studies of Women Gender and Sexuality
    Placement: California Labor Federation Workforce and Economic Development Program
    What Sally worked on: Sally researched the strategic plans filed by the county Workforce Development Boards, which are in charge of overseeing workforce investment funding usage in their local area. She created a database of information on each counties’ priority industries, such as healthcare or construction, which will be shared with local central labor councils, unions, and labor-management training partnerships to develop strategic plans for the larger workforce and education system in the state.

    Tascha Parsa, Pomona College- History
    Weixiang Chen, Pennsylvania State University- Labor and Global Workers’ Rights
    Placement: SEIU United Service Workers West
    What Tascha and Weixiang worked on: Tascha and Weixiang co-led a survey of airport workers at San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose airports to gather information on working conditions, with a particular focus on health and safety.

    Trang Hyunh, San Francisco State University- Labor Studies
    Placement: Engineers and Scientists of California-IFPTE Local 20
    What Trang worked on: Trang supported ESC-IFPTE Local 20, which was working on a hospital workers’ campaign to attain a collective bargaining agreement with a major employer. She attended bargaining team meetings, and learned about developing organizing strategy and member assessment. She also conducted corporate research to learn more about the hospital industry and hospital worker issues, including high workloads due to understaffing and cuts to benefits and wages.