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Center for Labor Research and Education


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Lead Organizer Training

Lead Organizer Training
Kheel Center CC BY 2.0

The coming years will be challenging for labor and community groups. Labor unions and community organizations need the space to reflect, regroup, and strategize on ways to help empower workers and community members for the important work ahead. Unions and community groups will need strong and skilled leadership teams to tackle both the expected and the unanticipated challenges they, their constituents, and their larger communities will face.

The UC Berkeley Labor Center will offer a Lead Organizer Training on April 24-26, 2017 featuring these topics:

  • Staff/Leadership Development
  • Wellness/Healthy Lifestyle Exercises
  • Training/Teaching/Learning Skills
  • Strategic Campaign Planning
  • Community-Labor Coalition Building
  • Lead Organizing Techniques/Tools

This workshop is offered to individuals in union and community-based organizations who hold lead organizing positions within their organizations, or will be assigned the task in the near future. Groups entering contract bargaining, conducting campaigns, or undertaking issue-oriented activities during 2017 should consider sending their lead organizers to this training.


“The Lead Organizer Training was very informative, inspiring and innovative! I left with the confidence needed to be a lead in organizing campaigns. I also loved that time was spent on how to stay healthy in the middle of the chaos we call organizing.”

-Connie Martin Rivera
2016 Alumni Organizer, United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP)

“The UCB Lead Organizer training was very useful to me because I was surrounded by other fierce organizers and we got to strategically and mindfully think through how to better serve our respective communities.”

-Patricia Contreras, former EBASE Lead Community Organizer

The three-day training will be facilitated by UCB Adjunct Labor Specialist Maria L. Abadesco. It will also feature Lamoin Werlein-Jaén, Director of Leadership Development Programs with the UC Berkeley Labor Center, and Patricia Contreras Flores, Community Advocate Coordinator with East Oakland Building Healthy Communities.


Monday-Wednesday, April 24-26, 2017


UC Berkeley Labor Center
2521 Channing Way
Berkeley, CA

Application deadline: Friday, March 10, 2017
Maximum 20 participants

Registration fee

Unions: $400
Community Organizations: $275

Cost includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, and printed and online materials.
Payment is due by Friday, April 7, 2017

About the Facilitators

Maria L. Abadesco

Maria L. Abadesco has been with the UCB Labor Center since 2006. Maria began her career as a union organizer for the ILWU Local 142—Big Island Hawaii. Since that time she has worked for several SEIU Northern California locals and the San Mateo and North Bay CLCs. She also served as lead organizer for several nurse-related campaigns in Northern California and for a health care drive in Los Angeles. Maria co-facilitated the Labor Center’s California Lead Organizer Institute, in conjunction with the Center for Third World Organizing, for three years. She is looking forward to the 2017 Lead Organizing Training, noting that “labor unions need to better coordinate their efforts with our community allies… Workers are the Community!”

Patricia Contreras Flores

Patricia dedicates her talents and skills to fighting the good fight by connecting and building with workers, organizations, and community members alike so that they feel supported and inspired to be a part of our growing movement. Michoacana/Purepecha, Mexico born, and Bay Area raised, Patricia is an artist, and was a youth organizer for over a decade. She is a huge advocate of intersecting art with multi-sector activism. A two time marathoner, her running, along with writing, bonding with her loved ones, mentoring youth, and Cumbia dancing, all keep her spiritually healthy and rooted in the work. Patricia was a lead organizer with East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy for four years before recently joining East Oakland Building Healthy Communities as a Community Advocate Coordinator.

Lamoin Werlein Jaén

Lamoin joined the Labor Center in 2016 as a Senior Labor Educator and Director of Leadership Development Programs. He most recently was the Lead Representative for IFPTE Local 21 in San Jose, CA, and was President of the San Mateo Labor Council from 2013 to 2016. Prior to this he worked for 18 years at UNITE HERE Local 2 in San Francisco, serving as the elected Vice-President from 2000 to 2006 and elected Secretary Treasurer from 2006 to 2012. In addition, he was a faculty member and taught at City College of San Francisco in the Labor and Community Studies Department from 2000 to 2013. Lamoin came to the United States in 1981 from the Republic of Panamá and to Madison, WI, before moving to California in 1995. He has a BA in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master’s Degree from San Francisco State University.

For more information please contact:
Maria Abadesco, Adjunct Labor Specialist, 707-494-2461,

The 2016 Lead Organizer Training welcomes participation from people of all races, ethnicities, national origins, and gender identities.