Labor Center

Labor Summer

General Information

Learn Organizing Skills

Applied Research & Policy

Information for Union and CBO Hosts


Student flyer:
Labor Summer 2014

Host flyer:
Labor Summer 2014

Labor Summer Internship Program

JUNE 23 - AUGUST 15, 2014

The UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education (Labor Center), along with co-sponsor UC Davis Center for Regional Change, offers an exciting opportunity for UC students to become summer interns with cutting-edge unions and community-based organizations in Northern and possibly Central California. The Labor Summer Internship Program is an innovative PAID internship for UC graduate and undergraduate students, providing opportunities to learn from and work with unions and labor organizations on issues vital to California's working people.

Students spend eight weeks with labor unions or community-based organizations, learning how to apply their skills in real-world settings in campaigns that are making a difference for working people, especially immigrants and people of color.

Why apply to the Labor Summer Internship Program?
Many working people in California earn wages that can’t support their families and are struggling to provide basic necessities. This internship offers students the opportunity to hone their skills alongside people who are working for positive change. With energetic leadership and a commitment to organize immigrants and workers in diverse industries, the labor movement is at the forefront of campaigns for social and economic justice. By working with labor and community organizations, students can learn through service about the important issues facing workers, immigrants, women, and people of color.

Labor Summer interns in previous years have learned firsthand how:

  • Grocery workers prepare for contract negotiations and address the community impacts of Wal-Mart big box stores (United Food and Commercial Workers);
  • Migrant farm workers improve their wages on California farms (United Farm Workers);
  • Latino immigrants on construction sites enforce wage, hour, and health and safety laws (Ironworkers Union and La Raza Centro Legal's Day Laborer Program);
  • Young restaurant workers raise work standards in the San Francisco restaurant industry (Young Workers United);
  • Low-wage Chinese immigrant workers better enforce and improve existing wage and hour laws (Chinese Progressive Association);
  • Low-wage childcare workers organize in Monterey and San Benito Counties (Service Employees International Union).

Undergraduate interns will receive a total of approximately $4,500 for participating in the internship.

Graduate interns will be paid the UC GSR Step II rate which comes to a total of approximately $5,500 for participating in the internship.

Amounts listed are gross (before taxes).

Should I do it?
Have you ever organized a meeting? Researched an issue? Volunteered in your community? Taught a class? Do you have the courage to knock on a door and listen to someone's story? Can you imagine a better future for the working poor? If your answer to any of these questions is "yes" or if you want to learn how to do these things, then Labor Summer is for you!

How it works
The UC Berkeley Labor Center offers PAID internships to graduate and undergraduate UC students to learn how to organize and do research to support social and economic justice for workers in California. The program has two tracks: Learn Organizing Skills and Applied Research and Policy.

Structure of the program
The program begins with a one-week intensive orientation from June 23-27 at the UC Berkeley Labor Center where students in both tracks will learn the basics of the U.S. labor movement, with a special focus on Northern California labor issues. Mid-week the tracks divide and the Learn Organizing Skills interns learn strategic campaign planning and how to organize workers. Applied Research and Policy interns are joined by researchers from labor unions and community-based organizations and learn the basics of strategic and policy research in a labor environment. At the end of the week, the interns in both tracks come back together and prepare for their seven-week field placements.

Looking for more information about the Labor Summer Internship Program to Learn Organizing Skills?

Looking for more information about the Labor Summer Internship Program on Applied Research and Policy?

Looking for more information about hosting a Labor Summer intern at your union or community organization?

Contact: Muttika Chaturabul
Phone: (510) 643-0910

“Every person that I have interacted with at my intern work-site and all the other interns have inspired me and that has made me reconsider my future plans, and branch out beyond what I am used to.”

“I may have learned more during this eight-week program than during my entire two years of graduate school. Before this internship, I underestimated the importance and strength of unions. Only now can I really appreciate the necessary role that unions play in preserving justice in a free market economy such as ours.”

“When I entered the program, I only had a hazy idea of what a union even was. Now I have a sense of what the labor movement is, what its goals are, how this fits into state and national politics, and innumerable other things. The program is excellent—I would recommend it to anyone interested in labor, social justice, and progressive politics, or just people.

“The labor movement isn’t just about labor/worker organizing – it’s about immigrant rights, gender equity, environmental justice, food justice, etc. I had never fully realized how intersectional it was as a whole or how intersectional I needed to be in practice.”

“I learned that we are at a critical time when member density is in serious trouble and it’s up to our generation to get involved and insure the future of the labor movement.”
Center for Labor Research and Education
2521 Channing Way # 5555
Berkeley, CA 94720-5555
TEL (510) 642-0323    FAX (510) 642-6432

A public service and outreach program of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment