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Western Regional Summer Institute on Union Women

Thank you for your interest in the Summer Institute on Union Women. Registration is now closed as we have reached our capacity of 200 registrants.


  • General Information

    2018 Goals

    Event Schedule

    Event Logistics


    General Information

    July 10-14, 2018 | Sonoma State University

    » SIUW 2018 Flyer PDF

    The UC Berkeley Labor Center is pleased to host the 37th Annual Western Regional Summer Institute on Union Women (SIUW) from July 10-14, 2018 at Sonoma State University, in the heart of California’s wine country.

    This year’s theme “The RESISTERhood—Working Womxn Organizing for Collective Power” lifts up organizing and collective action as integral to the advancement of working women’s issues and building power for all workers. It also reflects our commitment to creating an environment that is inclusive and builds on the strength of our shared but also uniquely different experiences as women from diverse backgrounds in the broader labor movement. We use the new spelling of the word ‘womxn’ in the Institute’s theme to be inclusive of gender non-conforming and transgender people.

    The Summer Institute is also a place where women from unions, worker centers, and community organizations encourage each other to step up into leadership in their organizations. It is a space for personal growth and reflection designed to ignite the empowerment of labor and labor-minded women.

    This year’s SIUW will provide an “organizer’s boot camp” to emerging new leaders. Participants will be able to choose from classes that offer hands-on training in: mobilizing members in difficult times; building inclusive organizations; organizing against sexual harassment; bargaining for racial justice and immigrant rights; unions, worker centers and community allies campaigning for a common goal; and so much more.

    The Summer Institute on Union Women is sponsored by the United Association for Labor Education. We welcome participation regardless of race, creed, religion, ethnicity, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or immigrant status.

    Questions about the 2018 Institute should be directed to Kineshia Cadogan at 510-642-1027 or

    SIUW brings together 150 diverse, dynamic activists from more than 50 unions, worker centers, and community organizations in the western region of the US and Canada for five days and four nights. Participants develop and deepen organizing skills, train for becoming leaders in their unions, and grapple with big picture issues that the labor movement is facing. This is a rare opportunity for grassroots, rank and file members, elected leaders, and staff to explore issues that affect women in the workplace, their organizations, and society at large.

    SIUW provides skills training, leadership development, and capacity building for leaders and emerging leaders designed to create community and solidarity among labor women in the broader labor movement. Core trainings are held on topics like Strategic Campaign Planning, Pathways to Leadership, and Mobilizing Members in Difficult Times. Workshops are held on subjects such as Building a Powerful Union through Successful Leader Structure; Worker Centers and Unions Partnering Together; Ending Sexual Harassment; and Protecting Immigrant Workers in the Workplace.

    Beyond learning skills, SIUW creates lasting bonds of sisterhood. Experienced leaders serve as mentors and role models, and younger leaders provide fresh perspectives and inspiration. Relationships are built that support women leaders through rough times, and that celebrate the good times, too. Affinity groups provide additional venues for support and connection for women of color, young workers, mothers, those who identify as LGBTQ or gender non-conforming, women in non-traditional jobs, and participants with disabilities. Mentoring circles support participants in developing an action plan for their leadership development in a more informal small group setting. Spaces for regional breakout groups, industry caucuses, and gatherings of participants from sister organizations foster connections and provide the opportunity to examine issues in common in forums that broaden scope and perspective. There will be space to develop and deepen meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practices that can help sustain us over the long haul. Open time for networking, downtime to integrate the day’s learnings, and time for fun are important components of the program.


    Goals of the 2018 Institute

    1. Create an intentional, intersectional, and inclusive environment of community and solidarity among labor women in the broader labor movement;
    2. Provide skills training, leadership development, and capacity building for leaders and emerging leaders designed to ignite the empowerment of labor and labor-minded women; and
    3. Elevate organizing and collective action to advance working women’s issues and build power for all workers.

    Language Accessibility
    All of the plenaries and gatherings of the whole group will be held in English and Spanish utilizing language justice. This means that everyone who is not bilingual in English and Spanish will wear translation equipment for our evening sessions and the graduation and closing. This means that everyone will be able to speak their first language and the conversation will flow smoothly. There will also be several core courses and workshops that will be held in language justice.

    We ask that organizations who have interpretation equipment let us borrow it for the Institute. We will need about 150 receivers and about 4-6 transmitters. If organizations with bilingual staff are able to assign staff to provide interpretation services at the Institute, we will be able to offer more classes for Spanish-speakers. If there is a need, classes may be held in other languages.

    Participants with Disabilities
    Sonoma State has a compact and relatively level campus; we will have golf carts for anyone in need of mobility assistance. Please let us know on the registration form if you will require this or any other assistance or accommodation.

    There is no additional fee for accommodations for children, but please be advised that there are no beds nor bedding for children. Please plan to bring a portable crib, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, etc. for your child(ren). Children are welcome at all meals at no additional cost.

    Participants needing childcare can contact the Community Child Care Council (4Cs) of Sonoma County at 707-544-3077. They will give you information about nearby childcare facilities. You must notify the 4C’s no later than May 15 if you will need their assistance with childcare. Please note that there is no guarantee that the childcare facilities will have availability during the conference.

    You can apply for scholarship funds to help cover the cost of childcare. You must apply by May 15 in order to be considered.


    Draft Schedule

    The schedule is in development so elements may change. We share this draft schedule to give you a general sense of the flow of the conference.

    Each day will typically begin at 9 am with classes and end at 8:30 pm in plenary session.

    Registration and a resource fair will begin at 2 pm on Tuesday, July 10. The conference will begin with an Opening Session and reception at 4 pm which will end at 8 pm.

    Residential and Commuter participants will be in a core class from 9 am to noon each morning (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). A core course is a 4-day class held for 3 hours each morning on one topic. In core courses, the same group of participants are in the class together for all 4 days. Each day builds on the course materials from the previous days. Daily participants will be in a 2 hour workshop from 10 am to noon.

    On Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, all participants will be in workshops. A workshop is a 2-hour class on one topic.

    There will be plenary sessions on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

    On Friday afternoon, we will participate in an off-site action in support of local workers. On Friday evening, we will have a party and celebrate!!

    Graduation and closing reception will be on Saturday and will end by 2:30 pm.

    Mentoring circles, which are optional, are three 1-hour sessions which will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons from 3:30-4:30 pm.

    Affinity groups will be held each evening after the plenaries and are optional.

    There will be time for caucuses to meet on Friday from 5-6 pm after the action. Attendance is optional.

    There will also be time free time to relax and integrate the day’s learning.

    After the conference concludes, an optional wine tasting and tour at a local winery is available for participants who sign up and pay for the tour in advance. Justice Grace wines raise awareness and resources for oppressed or exploited causes. Instead of quietly condoning their demonization, they celebrate our diversity, and shared humanity.

    By enjoying these wines, you help support people in need, and organizations fighting for compassion, peace and justice — for All of us. Space is limited. More information to come.



    Sonoma State University
    1801 E. Cotati Ave
    Rohnert Park, CA 94928

    There is ample parking available for both commuters and overnight guests. Parking permits are included in the registration fee. You will receive these at registration.

    Sonoma State University is off US Route 101 in Sonoma County, California.

    The closest airport is Charles M. Schultz/Sonoma County Airport (STS) in Santa Rosa. Non-stop flights are available from Seattle, Portland, and LA and one-stop flights from Vancouver.

    SIUW participants will stay in Beaujolais Village apartments, located on the university campus and within walking distance of our main meeting space at the new Student Center. You can view a map of Sonoma State campus here; Beaujolais Village is #4 on the map, and the Student Center is #34 on the map.

    A Beaujolais Village apartment is a 4-bedroom, 4-bathroom unit with all single bedrooms and private baths. Occupants share a living room, dining area, and kitchen with three other people. These apartments are approximately 1,150 square feet with two different floor plans, A and B.

    All requests for accessible housing must be received by June 1, no exceptions.

    Amenities include:

      Beaujolais apartments are furnished with an extra-long twin size bed, writing desk, desk chair, mobile nightstand/desk drawers, clothes closet, and stackable dressers for each resident. Most mattresses are 80 inches long by 38 inches wide by 6 inches high. Bedrooms have no overhead lighting, but a study lamp is provided. All of the windows are covered by mini-blinds.

      Living Room
      The living room is carpeted and furnished with a love seat, two lounge chairs, coffee table, two end tables, dining room table and four dining room chairs. All of the windows are covered with 2-inch faux-wood blinds. Lighting is provided by wall sconces.

      The bathrooms are private rooms attached to the bedrooms with sink/vanity, toilet, and a shower/tub combination. The shower does have sliding shower doors.

      The kitchen is fully equipped with a refrigerator, garbage disposal, dishwasher, a microwave, and electric oven range. This kitchen is very modern with solid surface countertops, black and chrome appliances, and laminated hardwood floors.

      You can view a map of the Beaujolais Village apartments here.

    The conference will open and close with receptions. When we go to the action on Friday, we will have a box lunch. All other meals will be in the dining hall, which is food court style with many different food options. Please let us know of any dietary restrictions on the registration form.

    Sonoma State University has much to offer—a climbing wall, a game room, a swimming pool to name a few amenities. There are always things to do at SSU!


    Summer Institute 2018 Event Sponsors

    The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299
    BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU)
    Boxer & Gerson, LLP
    Building and Construction Trades Council of California
    California Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO 
    California Professional Firefighters
    California School Employees Association (CSEA)
    Carpenters 46 Counties
    Central Labor Council of Contra Costa County, AFL-CIO 
    Contra Costa Building & Construction Trades Council
    DuRard, McKenna & Borg
    Emerge California
    International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Engineers (IAM) Local 1414
    International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
    International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 617
    Engineers and Scientists of California (ESC) Local 20, International Federation of Professional and
    Technical Engineers (IFPTE)
    Kazan, McClain, Satterley, Lyons, Greenwood & Oberman
    Kaiser Permanente Labor Management Partnership (LMP)
    Leonard Carder LLP 
    Lindquist LLP
    Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)
    Peninsula Auto Machinists Lodge 1414 
    Plumbers, Steamfitters & Refrigeration Fitters UA Local 393 
    Service Employees International Union of California
    International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Joint Council 7 
    International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 439 
    International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 2010 
    United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Region 8 – Western States Council

  • Classes

    All registrants are eligible to take 2 classes each day they participate. There are 3 ways to participate.

    1. Residential – 5 days/4 nights with overnight stays on campus
    2. Commuter – 5 days/4 nights with no overnight stay
    3. Daily – 1 day with no overnight stay. You can purchase more than one daily ticket and participate for 1, 2, 3 or 4 days.

    There are 2 types of classes offered.

    1. Core course – a 12 hour class on one topic that runs for 3 hours a day from 9 am to noon over the course of 4 days.
    2. Workshop – a 2 hour class

    Residential participants and commuters will take 1 core course in the mornings and a total of 2 workshops which are held in the afternoon.

    Daily participants will take 1 workshop in the morning and 1 workshop in the afternoon.

    Course Selection
    Participants will fill out a course selection form and rank the classes below in the order of their interest in participating in that class with 1 being the highest ranking and most desired class. Participants will be notified by mid-June of their course placements. Course selections must be received by June 1. Registrants who do not fill out course selection forms by June 1 will be assigned to their classes.

    Core Courses
    There are 8 core courses. Six classes are geared toward a broad audience– material is relevant to members of unions, worker centers, community organizations and to participants from British Columbia. One class is more relevant to union folks – Collective Bargaining for Power. One class is an Advanced Class—Pathways to Leadership.

    Two classes will be held in Language Justice which means that everyone who is not bilingual in English and Spanish will wear interpretation equipment so everyone can speak their first language and the conversation can flow smoothly. The Language Justice classes will be selected after participants have ranked their classes and identified which workshops are their top choices.

    There are a total of 23 workshops from which participants can choose, several of which are repeated so that all participants can have the opportunity to enroll. Ten workshops are geared toward a broad audience where material be relevant to members of unions, worker centers, community organizations or for participants from British Columbia. Four are geared toward a narrow audience of unions or unions and worker centers, and 8 provided no information.

    Each afternoon two classes will be held in Language Justice which means that everyone who is not bilingual in English and Spanish will wear interpretation equipment so everyone can speak their first language and the conversation can flow smoothly. The Language Justice classes will be selected after participants have ranked their classes and identified which workshops are their top choices.

    Core Courses

    1. Building Inclusive Organizations BC, Unions, Worker Centers, and Community Orgs
    Shanee Prasad (BC Federation of Labour) and Bernice Alvarez (AFSCME)

    This workshop will lead us through discussion that will start the conversation and give some tools and ideas on how to work within ourselves and our organizations to create more inclusive space. Throughout the four days we will be discussing ideas around exclusion, intersectionality, inclusion, power and empowerment. Through challenging conversations and creating a better understanding around equalizing power and addressing issues, we will be able to build more inclusive organizations.

    2. Collective Bargaining for Power BC, Unions
    Liz Larsen (AFSCME Council 28) and Selena Kongpreecha (BCGEU)

    Success at the negotiating table requires not only technical skills such as researching and preparing persuasive arguments, writing proposals and counter proposals, understanding and using labor laws effectively but also the ability to bring power to the table through unified and effective membership actions. This class will introduce all these aspects of collective bargaining in both the public and private sector contexts.

    3. Globalization and Immigration BC, Unions, Worker Centers, and Community Orgs
    Kassandra Cordero (BC Federation of Labour), Elizbeth Espinoza (UCLA Labor Center), and Mayra Flor Martinez (DREAM Resource Center, UCLA Labor Center)

    This course is for everyone. With political climates changing rapidly everywhere on Turtle Island, and the ever growing power of corporations over our political systems it is important to take a look at the effects these trends have on our communities, and how this relates to the reasons why people migrate. We will also explore the difficulties certain communities face with respect to migration, and how this relates to globalization.

    4. Mobilizing Members in Difficult Times BC, Unions, Worker Centers, Community Orgs
    Sarah Laslett (University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center), Indira Trejo (United Farm Workers), Kari Michaels (BCGEU), and Abby Leung (UFCW 1518)

    In the U.S., unions are anticipating the worst in the Janus vs AFSCME Supreme Court decision. The ruling, expected by June of this year, will probably outlaw “fair share” union fees in the public sector. Meanwhile, in British Columbia the fight goes on for labor law reform. At stake in the province are a return to signed union card certification, and reigning in employer interference in union organizing drives. Meanwhile, workers on both sides of the border, and around the globe, are suffering under the ‘mad king’ U.S. presidency of Donald Trump. In this context, honing the skills of union activists to have deep and empowering conversations with members and non-members is crucial. Mobilizing Members in Hard Times will give participants the opportunity to practice conversations across political difference, engage in courageous conversations about equity issues, do leadership identification, recruitment, and development, and gain confidence in the most fundamental tool of the organizer, one-on-one communication.

    5. Our Bodies on the Line: Organizing for Healthy and Just Working Conditions BC, Unions, Worker Centers, and Community Orgs
    Laura Stock (UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program), Alejandra Domenzain (UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program), and Lynn Bueckert (BC Federation of Labour, FF $15 Campaign)

    It is hard to work when you are sick or injured, and workers care deeply about protecting their health, safety and livelihood. Strategically, organizing for healthy jobs engages workers, builds community support, and can lead to concrete wins that energize workers. This class will provide tools to address common problems – including job stress, workload, violence, chemicals, and ergonomic hazards. Participants will come away with skills and strategies to identify problems and come up with solutions, speak up and exercise their rights, and engage other workers in advocating for better working conditions.

    6. Pathways to Leadership (Advanced) BC, Unions, Worker Centers, and Community Orgs
    Irene Lanzinger (President, BC Federation of Labour), Wei-Ling Huber (President, UNITE HERE Local 2850), and Ana Avendano (Vice President, Labor Engagement, United Way Worldwide)

    This course is for those who seek to be elected to the highest office in their organization. It will investigate the particular strengths that women bring to leadership positions in labor and social justice organizations, and the particular barriers we face. This investigation will use an equity lens to account for multiple experiences of race, class, immigration/nation of origin experience, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other categories of identity. Our investigation into the particular strengths of women in leadership and the barriers we face will then lead to strategizing about skills and tactics to overcome barriers, including how to build teams and allyship, how to challenge resistors to change, how to get buy-in for organizational change that will support women and other traditionally marginalized people in leadership, and more.

    7. Politics Matters: Women Taking Control of their Future BC, Unions, Worker Centers, and Community Orgs
    Trish Suzuki Blinstrub (Teamsters 856), Brenda Wiest (Teamsters 117), Mai Syed (Emerge CA), and Joulene Parent (ILWU Local 500, British Columbia)

    Women only make up approximately 21% of all elected positions in the US. However it has been seen that when women come out to vote they are a powerful voting bloc that can decide an election. In fact there is a higher percentage of women registered to vote in most states and that when women run more women tend to come out to vote. In a time when women still make less than their male counterparts and the rights to their body are continually challenged, it’s time we do something about it. Learn what it takes to run a successful campaign to win an elected office seat for yourself or for someone else and how you can get politically involved with your local union, your community, and get women elected into office. It’s time to take back our future.

    8. Strategic Campaign Planning BC, Unions, Worker Centers, and Community Orgs
    Denise Moffat (BC Federation of Labour) and Ana Rosa Rizo-Centino (Central Coast League of Conservation Voters)

    Figuring out where to start on a campaign can feel overwhelming, but with a step-by-step approach success is achievable. This course will provide all the skills and tools you need to put together an engaging, strategic and inclusive campaign. You will learn how to centre your campaign around equity and inclusion values, build grassroots power, identify and support leaders, develop your messaging and outreach strategy, create a campaign action plan and win. The course is best suited to women who have a specific campaign in mind so they can focus their work throughout the week.



    1. Art as an Organizing Tool
    Wednesday, July 11 from 1-3pm (all) and Friday, July 13 from 10am-Noon (daily tickets only)
    Jessica Lawless (CA Faculty Association)

    Artists’ role in society is to push the edges of the familiar by changing our perspectives and assumptions. Artists create deep relationships that can collectively transform the individuals who come in contact with their work. In a post-Janus world, in order for labor to thrive instead of barely survive, we all need to find our inner artist. This workshop is an opportunity to develop your creative powers and become an artist whose medium is building a new labor movement.

    We will learn to access our creativity through material, somatic, and intellectual practices. These include meditative activities, feminist boundary setting techniques, collaborative brainstorming, a visual presentation of the ways art has been a central tool in organizing contingent faculty, and the opportunity to create visual or written pieces to display or perform.

    As a group we will find creative solutions for organizing new members into our unions, converting non-members, and building strong chapters.

    2. Bargaining for the Common Good
    Wednesday, July 11 from 1-3pm (all)
    Debra Kidney (AFSCME) and Micaela Shapiro-Shellaby (Oregon AFSCME Council 75)

    In May 2014, 130 unionists, community organizations and researchers gathered in Washington, DC, to plan a new approach to public budget campaigns in order to unite public service workers and the communities they serve. The goals: pull together to align our common goals, challenge the financial sector, and work locally to act nationally in order to change the conversation. Find out how you can use these ideas to strengthen both your local union AND your local community.

    3. Beyond Bias: Exploring our Unconscious Thoughts & Actions
    Thursday, July 12 from 1-3pm (all)
    Debra Kidney (AFSCME) and Sophia Miyoshi (Bay Area Restaurant Opportunities Centers)

    Have you ever found yourself acting or thinking negatively about something or someone with no idea where THAT came from? The subconscious, which is often programmed from a very early age, plays a huge role in decision-making processes at every level – individual, cultural or institutional. What is expressed may be received as racism, sexism, or other ‘isms.’ Although there was likely no intent, the impact it may have on others may be substantial. We will explore bias, how it impacts us, and how through thought and exploration we can de-bias ourselves and our local unions.

    4. Building A Powerful Union through Successful Leader Structure
    Wednesday, July 10 from 10am-noon (daily tickets only) and Wednesday, July 10 from 1-3pm (all)
    Teresa Avendano (AFSCME 3299)

    This workshop will outline the steps to build a Member Action Team (MAT) structure and how to utilize this structure to successfully fight back employer’s attacks in the workplace and win campaigns.

    5. Closing the Gender-Race Wage Gap
    Thursday, July 12 from 1-3pm (all) and Saturday, July 15 from 10am-noon (daily tickets only)
    Jennifer Reisch (Equal Rights Advocates) and Leslie Simon (IATSE Local 871)

    The gender wage gap is a persistent, pervasive phenomenon that exists in nearly every occupation and industry and affects women at all education levels, hitting women of color, mothers, and older women particularly hard. While the wage gap is less severe in unionized workplaces, occupational segregation and the tendency to pay women less than men for doing substantially similar work and to deny women equal access to higher paying positions and classifications deprive working women and their families of thousands of dollars each year. In this workshop, we will explore some of the ways that union members and leaders can help workers and employers identify, evaluate, and address gender and race pay disparities within organizations and industries. Participants will learn how laws relating to equal pay (including recent changes to California law) apply to unions and their members. Participants will also learn practical tips, tools, and strategies for workers and unions to address pay equity issues in the collective bargaining process.

    6. Community-Based and Worker-Engaged Research: Lessons from the Field of Participatory Action Research
    Wednesday, July 11 from 1-3pm (all)
    Pam Tau Lee (Chinese Progressive Association)

    Learn about the participatory action research collaborations between the Chinese Progressive Association and UNITE-HERE in San Francisco. Find out about the concrete change that their research has made. Come engage in a dialogue about how to move research projects towards reflective processes that include union/community members and that build power for specific campaigns to address identified issues.

    7. Diversity & Inclusion: Building a Stronger Union
    Wednesday, July 11 from 1-3pm (all) and Thursday, July 12 from 10am-Noon (daily tickets only)
    Libertad Ayala (AFSCME 3299)
    Local 3299 will share the rational, curricula and process for developing 3299’s own member-centered curricula to address diversity and inclusion to build a stronger local and to highlight the racial and social inequities of the University of California.

    8. Ending Sexual Harassment & Building Safe, Respectful Workplaces for All
    Wednesday, July 11 from 1-3pm (all)
    Lilia Garcia (Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund), Sandra Diaz (SEIU USWW), Guadalupe Aguayo (SEIU USWW), Maria Trujillo (SEIU USWW), Alejandra Domenzain (UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program)

    An empowerment program for women focusing on how to serve as first responders and activists within their union and beyond. This workshop will use a trauma informed approach and examine gender socialization, build resilience and sisterhood as well as a focus on culture change, bystander intervention, prevention, and support for survivors. The program includes:

    • A supportive coalition including anti-violence organizations, legal advocates, and occupational safety and health programs
    • Groundbreaking union contract language with increased protections
    • Historic legislation which makes training on sexual violence for all workers a precondition for getting or renewing a business license
    • Worker-centered training focusing on culture change, bystander intervention, prevention, and support for survivors

    9. Extractive Economy
    Thursday, July 12 from 1-3pm (all)
    Annie Dobbs Kramer (North Bay Organizing Project)

    This intersectional workshop will be on the extractive economy and the way that it acts upon the earth, on labor, and on women’s bodies. The same framework that treats the earth like a commodity to be exploited also treats human labor and women’s bodies as commodities to be extracted. We will examine this system, and also look at alternatives to it. There is nothing inevitable about the extractive economy, and we must not only resist, but also build a new, reverential, resilient economy.

    10. How to protect immigrant workers in the workplace against ICE raids and I-9 audits
    Wednesday, July 11 from 1-3pm (all) and Friday, July 13 from 10am-noon (daily tickets only)
    Yael Pineda, (KIWA/UCLA Labor Center)

    In the trump era, the current president has increased the amount of immigration officials throughout the country. Given that the state of California has said they will not comply with increasing the amount of immigrants they overturn to federal ICE agents in their jails and prisons, trump and DHS have changed their strategies to torment and abduct immigrant workers from their jobs and daily lives. Currently I am working on several deportation defense projects at the Korean Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA) through the UCLA Labor Center’s Immigrant Justice Fellowship. One of the many projects includes developing materials and workshops/ trainings on how immigrant workers, specifically those who are undocumented, can protect themselves in the workplace during ICE raids/I-9 audits. This information incorporates new laws AB450 and SB54, which impacts the lives of many immigrant people in the state of California.

    11. Messaging to Win Over Public Approval
    Thursday, July 12 from 1-3pm (all)
    Betsy Twitchell (ESC-IFPTE 20)

    Public support is often key to a successful campaign to win more for working families and unions. Our opponents have mastered the art of framing and messaging. That’s one of the reasons their narrative resonates with so many. Creating a strong and effective message is all about choosing the best words and phrases to inform, engage and connect with your audience about your issue. Effective, consistent and disciplined messaging is the key to changing the narrative around unions and workers.

    12. The Money Show: Promoting Union Value in a Right to Work Environment
    Thursday, July 12 from 1-3pm (all) and Friday, July 13 from 10am-noon (daily tickets only)
    Marisa Salgado (AFSCME 3299)

    Learn the strategy, field plan, and message of AFSCME 3299 Dues Campaign, where 84% of members voted approved the dues increase. The campaign uses a simple message and tool called “Money Show” to help members realize the value of union.

    13. One Room, Many Voices
    Thursday, July 12 from 1-3pm (all)
    Liliana Herrera and Alena Maria (Movidas)

    The multiracial, multi-issue alliances we need to effect systemic change rely on people being able to talk to each other — sharing our stories and dreams, strategizing together, and taking action. How can community organizers and educators make this collaboration possible between people who use different languages? This workshop draws on the successes of the emerging language justice movement to explore best practices for inclusive, effective multilingual space that engages community members who use different languages to not only share information, but to participate in deep dialogue and collaboration in an environment in which one language is not privileged over another. Participants from community organizations and educational institutions will gain practical tools that can be applied immediately to connect people across language barriers in a range of environments, such as trainings, rallies, summits, conferences, and board meetings. Together, we will cultivate insight about how to advocate for language access in the systems we seek to change. After all, our collective dreams of a just world can’t be realized unless all voices can be heard.

    14. Organizing Non-Traditional and Invisible Workers
    Wednesday, July 10 from 10am-noon (daily tickets only) and Thursday, July 12 from 1-3pm (all)
    Mariela Ventura (North Bay Jobs with Justice) and Maxine Doogan (Erotic Service Providers Union)

    The labor movement both in the United States and internationally is built not just on labor unions but a wide variety of work. Work that is traditionally women’s labor often gets left behind in the mainstream labor movement discussion and is rarely accounted for in worker protection policies. Trades and handmade goods, domestic and caregiver work, sex workers, women in alternative healthcare, the list goes on. Many of these women are women of color, Native/Indigenous, Immigrants and Trans women, and the erasure of their issues is both an issue of class and a race as much as it is an issue of gender. In this workshop we’ll explore this work in the larger labor movement, and discuss ways in which women workers have and can continue to support one another from afar.

    15. Personal Wellness in Labor Justice Work
    Wednesday, July 10 from 10am-noon (daily tickets only)
    Christina Zapata (Humanidad Therapy & Education Services)

    This course will ask participants to reflect on self-care and emotional health. In this course, participants will be encouraged to incorporate self-care tools, such as setting boundaries, avoiding people pleasing, yet keeping the heart open and expansive. The course will be facilitated by mental health professionals, one of whom was a former labor organizer.

    16. Researching Your Employer
    Thursday, July 12 from 1-3pm (all) and Saturday, July 14 from 10am-noon (daily tickets only)
    Chelsea Watson (Oregon AFL-CIO)

    Understanding the dynamics of employer power is vital to our work as unionists. Successful organizing and bargaining campaigns require in depth knowledge of the parties involved. This course will provide the tools needed to strategically plan campaigns by analyzing the ownership, financial status, strategies, and labor relations of an employer. We will review recent examples of the role research has played in success. Utilizing these techniques to their fullest capacity enables workers to better hold their employers accountable.

    17. SELF Principle: Practices for a Healthy Life
    Wednesday, July 11 from 1-3pm (all) and Thursday, July 12 from 10am-noon (daily tickets only)
    Alicia Loncar (Kaiser Permanente Labor Management Partnership)

    In this interactive and engaging workshop, participants will learn about practices that will increase the ability to weather stressful storms. Laughter and other methods can help increase health, promote well-being and reduce stress. We will discuss the stress encountered at work and at home. Together we will play games, laugh and learn easy-to-use techniques to create more mental, emotional and physical ease in your life.

    18. Social Media in Organizing

    Thursday, July 12 from 10am-noon (daily tickets only) and Thursday, July 12 from 1-3pm (all)
    Andrea Dehlendorf (Organization United for Respect, OUR)

    This workshop will give participants a basic overview of online to offline organizing from the Organization United for Respect’s Walmart campaign. Participants will learn new skills and have the have the opportunity to strategize about how adding these new tools & strategies can enhance existing or upcoming campaigns.
    Skills we will review:

    • The online to field pathway – how do we move people from online conversations to offline action.
    • Building an online infrastructure – diving in to what are the spaces online our organization should be creating given our goals and mission.
    • The importance of online organizing – history & explanation of why we need spaces online for members.
    • Putting it into practice – having practice conversations through Facebook & Text to begin making organizing asks while we review best practices. Digital tools and analytics – what out there is available to us?

    19. The Strength of Social Justice Unionism: City College of San Francisco case study
    Wednesday, July 11 from 1-3pm (all)
    Conny Ford (SF Labor Council), Athena Waid (AFT 2121), Win-Mon Kyi (Student Leader), and Anakh Sul Rama (Community Housing Partnership)

    In 2017, City College of San Francisco became Tuition Free to ALL residents. City College, is the largest working class institution in SF and is a leading multiracial, multi-national organization within the City. It became tuition free starting in the fall of 2017. This program covers ALL enrollment fees for ALL City College residents of San Francisco. This is a story of union, electoral and political organizing; of the importance of developing leaders and how it was done within the Union, student and community organizations; and of some of the very creative tactics that were used to hold the coalition together, to draw attention to each level of this fight and ultimately to keep the campaigns fun so that folks would stay involved for the necessary 5-years that this battle took. A powerful panel lead by women will tell this story.

    20. Climate Justice is a Worker Issue
    Wednesday, July 11 from 1-3pm (all)
    Ana Rosa Rizo-Centino (Central Coast League of Conservation Voters)

    This workshop will explore what climate change is and what we as workers can do to be part of the solution. Please come ready to discuss environmental justice issues in your community, so we can practically apply the global manifestations of climate change to local organizing.

    21. Tradeswomen History: Learning from the Past to Change the Future
    Wednesday, July 11 from 1-3pm (all)
    Brigid O’Farrell (UAW 1981), Molly Martin (retired IBEW 6), Debra Chaplan (CA State Building and Construction Trades), and Meg Vasey (Tradeswomen Inc.)

    Tradeswomen History: Learning from the Past to Change the Future is a workshop for tradeswomen, those thinking about the trades, and anyone interested in working women’s history. A short media presentation with photographs, images, words, and music are used to guide a discussion of the history of women in skilled trades: the legal framework opening these jobs to women, the strategies tradeswomen have used, the barriers that remain, and new approaches now being developed. To help working women from diverse backgrounds learn from each other, build coalitions, and advocate for change, pioneer tradeswomen will tell their stories, advocates will discuss strategies, and workshop participants will take part in an action for change. As Chicago sister Addie Wyatt, CLUW co-founder and leader of the Packinghouse Workers, often said, “If you don’t know where you come from, you don’t know where you’re going.”

    22. Worker Centers and Unions Partnering Together
    Wednesday, July 11 from 1-3pm (all) and Saturday July 14 from 10am-noon (daily ticket only)
    Sarah Leadem (California Domestic Workers Coalition) and Ilana Master (Young Workers United)

    In this critical moment for the future of the U.S. labor movement, it is more urgent than ever to embrace and expand the ranks of Labor to include worker centers and alternative worker organizations. Worker centers have historically organized at the margins of the labor movement – organizing non-traditional workers and low-wage immigrant workforces like taxi drivers, restaurant workers, domestic workers, farmworkers, day laborers, garment workers, and car wash workers.

    Come learn about how to build bridges and strengthen collaboration between unions and worker centers. Help us to answer key questions like: How can we build worker power within and outside of the union model? How can we create new paths for collective bargaining? How can we organize immigrant workers working in the informal economy?

    23. Young Workers and Intergenerational Solidarity
    Thursday, July 12 from 1-3pm (all)
    Alicia Flores (Teamsters 2010), Kari Michaels (BCGEU), Indira Trejo (UFW) and Yael Pineda, (KIWA/UCLA Labor Center)

    In a time of union membership decline, national right to work laws, and attacks on workers’ rights at every level, it is significant to note that the Economic Policy Institute found that 76% of the increase in union membership in 2017 was workers under 35. Our workshop aims to address the ideas and experiences of young workers taking on leadership roles in their unions and worker organizations, and discuss them with members and staff who have been in the labor movement for more than several decades. We hope this workshop will facilitate an important space for people just getting started in the labor movement to share new ideas, concerns, and a vision for the labor movement they are hoping to develop, and how mentorship, wisdom and life-lessons can be shared across generations.

    Schedule Grid of Workshops

    Below are 2 charts showing the schedule of workshops. The first shows the morning workshops that are available tor daily participants. The second shows the afternoon workshops which are available to all participants.

    Morning Workshops for Daily Participants 10 am – Noon

    Every day there are 3 classes from which daily participants can choose. See the grid below.

    Afternoon Workshops for All Participants 1-3 pm

    On Wednesday, July 11 and Thursday, July 12 there are 11 classes from which all participants can choose.

  • Plenary Sessions and Cultural Performers

    Tuesday, July 10 from 4-8 pm
    Welcome and Blessing by Native Elder
    Cultural Performance – Aztec Dancers

    Sisterhood Today and Tomorrow Plenary
    A panel of diverse women share their experiences as women in the labor movement. Through personal storytelling, we recognize how our fuller identities (beyond being women) impact our experience as workers and union leaders

    • Maria Abadesco, Adjunct Labor Education Specialist, UC Berkeley Labor Center (Co-Moderator)
    • Cheryl Coney, Labor Educator and Organizer, California Teachers Association
    • Sarah Leadem, Director of Workers Rights, California Domestic Workers Coalition (Co-Moderator)
    • Kari Michaels, Vice President, British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU)
    • D Wu, Community Organizer, Ironworkers District Council 16

    Wednesday, July 11 from 6-8:30 pm
    Cultural Performance – Spoken Word

    #TIMESUP Plenary
    A talk show focusing on efforts to eradicate sexual harassment and fight for gender equity

    • Ana Avendano, Vice President, Labor Engagement, United Way Worldwide (Host)
    • Gabrielle Carteris, President, SAG-AFTRA – invited
    • Denise Solis, 1st Vice President, Northern California Director, SEIU United Service Workers West (USWW)
    • Dayna Sykes, United Steel Workers District 3, British Columbia — invited

    Thursday, July 12 from 6-8:30 pm
    Cultural Performance – The Imaginists

    The Right to Organize Plenary
    A Call to Action to Mobilize Members in Difficult Times

    Sharing successful, creative strategies, stories, and tactics to engage members, with concrete examples of how U.S. unions are fighting back from Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court Ruling.

    • Laphonza Butler, President, SEIU 2015
    • Jollene Levid, Regional Organizer, United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) and Founding Chairperson, AF3IRM, a transnational feminist organization
    • Liz Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO
    • Maimuna Syed, Executive Director, Emerge California (Moderator)

    Saturday, July 14 from 12 noon – 2:30 pm
    Closing Ceremony, Graduation and Reception
    Cultural Performance – Bev Grant, We Were There

    Plenary Speakers

    Sisterhood Today and Tomorrow Plenary

    Maria Abadesco’s history in the labor movement spans over 30 years, starting as an organizer for the ILWU Local 142 on the Big Island Hawaii, organizing hotel workers, and then hospital workers on Oahu. She remains an organizer at heart, as she became the lead director for the SIUW held in Sonoma, 2012. Since 2007, Maria has worked with the UC Berkeley Labor Center as an adjunct labor educator. Throughout her working years in unions, Maria has held positions as business representative, senior representative, political director, chief lobbyist, media consultant and strategic planner. Today she splits her time between the San Francisco Bay Area and St. Petersburg, Florida.

    Cheryl Coney is currently a labor educator and organizer for the California Teachers Association based in San Diego, California. Prior to joining CTA Cheryl was the lead for the training team at the National Education Association where she ran State Affiliate Training and the Uniserv Program. She served as the project director for the Union Women’s Leadership Education Project and labor educator at The Washington State Labor Education and Research Center (WA LERC) where she worked on recruiting and training the next generation of leaders as part of the LERC’s Emerging Leaders Initiative (ELI) and the Emerging Leaders Conference.

    Cheryl became involved in the labor movement and social activism in large part due to her experiences growing up in a working class family. She was raised in a union household and witnessed firsthand how collective action could improve personal lives, the lives of families, and the socio-economic conditions of communities.

    These beliefs led her into union organizing and eventually labor education.  Working as an organizer in Texas with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (CNA/NNOC/NNU), Cheryl saw firsthand the benefits of nurses building committees so they could organize themselves as workers, and also speak for the interests of their patients and their community at large. 

    Before working with NNOC in Texas, she was an Organizer in California with the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) and the Service Employee International Union (SEIU), United Healthcare Workers – West, (UHW). As an organizer with NUHW and SEIU she saw workers empowered and able to achieve workplace victories, respect and a voice on the job.  She witnessed workers win living wages and effect policy through strength in numbers.

    Cheryl and her partner Greg are parents to two young activists.
    Cheryl holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Political Science and History from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Washington, Tacoma.

    Sarah Leadem is the Director of Workers Rights for the California Domestic Workers Coalition. Sarah has more than ten years of experience in student, community and worker organizing in the S.F. Bay Area. With roots in youth organizing, Sarah was introduced to the labor movement as a national student leader with United Students Against Sweatshops, helping to run strategic student-labor solidarity campaigns in the global apparel industry and locally in support of service workers fighting for a fair contract at the University of California. As a student-labor organizer, she organized students to support the passage of the historic California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights which sought to bring recognition and respect to the privately employed housecleaners, nannies and caregivers long-excluded from basic labor protections. Upon graduating from UC Berkeley, Sarah became a union organizer with AFSCME 3299, the public sector union representing service workers and hospital workers at the University of California, during the peak of 2012-2013 contract negotiations.

    Bringing her skills in membership recruitment and campaign development, Sarah joined the staff of the California Domestic Workers Coalition in 2015 to coordinate a mass-scale organizing drive of domestic workers and was quickly promoted to Statewide Field Coordinator in the legislative campaign to make permanent the right to overtime for domestic workers. Sarah now leads the organizing and rights enforcement program of the California Domestic Workers Coalition as the Director of Workers Rights. Having organized both within a union and worker center, Sarah believes strongly in the transformative potential of a united labor movement that embraces non-traditional immigrant worker industries, centers the leadership of immigrant women, and innovates new ways to build power for working people.

    Kari Michaels was elected as a BCGEU Executive Vice-President at the 2017 Constitutional Convention, making her the second youngest person to ever hold that position and one of the youngest labour leaders in Canada.

    Kari joined the BCGEU as a member when she and her co-workers at Kwantlen Student Association formed a union at their worksite. She quickly became active, first as a bargaining committee member and subsequently stepping up as a steward.

    Besides being an active leader in her workplace, Kari has been deeply involved with the larger union as: the young worker representative on both Local 704 and the Component 7 executive; Local 704 first vice-chairperson; a member of the BCGEU Young Workers Committee; and member of the joint labour management committee.

    Kari is a passionate advocate for social justice and believes in building workers’ capacity to take action to improve their working conditions through education and training.

    D Pei Wu grew up in Stamford, Connecticut, the child of Chinese immigrants. Their activism started at the age of 15, when they organized fellow Chinese students to march in protest of the 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square. Wu later was involved in the November 1999 protests of the World Trade Organization (WTO) summit in Seattle, where they were deeply inspired by the tremendous power of labor-community alliances.

    Wu holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, a master’s from Princeton, and doctorate from University of California, Berkeley. They were active in labor and community organizing during their time in the SF Bay Area, including being among dozens arrested in Emeryville, California, for blocking the street in front of a hotel where workers with UNITE HERE were fighting for a living wage. At the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Wu organized multilingual national training institutes for immigrant and refugee rights organizers on racial and gender justice. They were part of an unsuccessful faculty unionizing effort while serving as core faculty at Antioch University Los Angeles, which led them to focus on direct action and strategic communications trainings for the Ruckus Society, Center for Story-based Strategy, California Faculty Association, SEIU, OUR Walmart, and the American Association of University Professors.

    Wu moved to Portland in 2013 and started as executive director of Portland Jobs with Justice in 2015, where they currently oversee a staff of three and a coalition of over 120 faith, labor, student, and community organizations. In addition to their work to further racial and gender justice within the labor movement, Wu has worked on housing justice, youth organizing, climate justice, and with the Oregon United for Marriage campaign.

    Wu started working as a community organizer for the Ironworkers Pacific Northwest District Council in 2017. In addition to serving the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Wyoming, and Utah, Wu also serves as a community organizer in California. Wu has a long history for advocating for worker’s rights, and living wage jobs for members of the community.

    #TIMESUP Plenary

    Ana Avendaño, Vice-President of Labor Engagement, United Way Worldwide

    Ms. Avendaño serves as Vice President for Labor Engagement at United Way Worldwide. Previously, Ms. Avendaño served as Assistant to the President and Director of Immigration and Community Action at the AFL-CIO, where she created and managed the groundbreaking partnership between the AFL-CIO and worker centers around the country, and handled domestic and international immigration policy and programs for the AFL-CIO. She also served as an Associate General Counsel at the AFL-CIO and as Assistant General Counsel to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, as well as a staff attorney at the NLRB and union-side law firms.

    Denise Solis, SEIU-USWW 1st Vice President/Northern California Director

    Denise Solis is an activist, labor organizer and elected labor union leader from Texas who has lived in the Bay Area since 2002. She first volunteered and later worked for El Teatro Campesino in San Juan Bautista and then later at La Pena Cultural Arts Center in Berkeley before making a shift to labor and community organizing in 2003.

    Denise began working as an organizer for the United Farm Workers Union in the beginning of 2003, where she participated in the a Grape worker organizing campaign in Delano, CA, and then later worked on a couple of different organizing campaigns with strawberry and lettuce workers in Watsonville, CA. She left the UFW in late 2003 to work for SEIU 1877 (now SEIU – United Service Workers West), as an internal organizer in the Janitorial Division based in Oakland. Since she has been at SEIU – United Service Workers West for the last 13 years, Denise has worked in a variety of roles and been a part of numerous campaigns both in the Union and as part of our SEIU-USWW’s political campaigns in local, state, and national elections. Most notably, Denise led a successful Janitorial strike and contract campaign that led to significant increases for 6,000 janitors in 2008 in Silicon Valley and the greater Bay Area, since then she has been the statewide driver for SEIU-USWW’s largest industry, the Janitorial industry, which represents a little more than 20,000 members statewide.

    On behalf of SEIU-USWW, Denise serves on the General Employee’s Trust fund Board (GETF) as a trustee since 2010 and on the Leadership Training and Education Fund (LTEF) Board. Denise also serves on the Executive Committee of the San Francisco Labor Council (SFLC). She is also the 2nd Vice President of the South Bay Central Labor Council which represents 100,000 workers in the South Bay and Silicon Valley from 101 unions.

    On 2015, Denise joined the Board of Trustees for the Building Skills Partnership Board, which oversees a training fund and organization for SEIU-USWW Janitors working in California, BSP provides vocational training, ESL classes, Citizenship classes, Healthy Living and Financial literacy classes for thousands of janitors in California.

    In 2016, as the Statewide Janitorial driver for USWW, Denise led the Raise America/Immigrant Women Rising contract campaign for 20,000 plus USWW Janitors up and down the state of California. As a result of this contract campaign Janitors received significant wage increases, protected and in some cases improved their healthcare benefits (employer paid) and most importantly this campaign included contract language with better protections and training standards against sexual harassment and sexual violence in the industry. This campaign also led the way for the passing of AB1978 in California which will create better protections against Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in the Janitorial industry for all janitors (both union and non union).

    Denise is currently an elected officer of USWW, serving as the 1st Vice President statewide for the local and the Northern California Director for USWW, she has been an elected leader of USWW since 2010.

    The Right to Organize Plenary

    Laphonza Butler is the President of SEIU Local 2015 – the recently formed statewide long term care union that has united the voices of more than 325,000 SEIU nursing home and home care workers throughout California. SEIU Local 2015 is the largest union in California and the largest long term care local in the country.

    Since the formation of Local 2015 on June 2, 2015, its members have celebrated historic victories at the local, state, and federal levels – including the passage of the nation’s first $15 statewide minimum wage – a victory that will improve the lives of over 6 million Californians and for which Butler’s leadership was honored by the White House. Prior to leading SEIU Local 2015, Butler served for seven years as President of SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW), a local that successfully improved the lives of its 180,000 long term care workers and those they care for by fighting for better wages and benefits, protecting funding for long term care programs, and passing legislation that restored vital hours of care to seniors and people with disabilities and brought dignity to the work of caregivers. Butler has also served as SEIU’s Property Services Division Director in which she was responsible for the strategic direction of the more than 250,000 janitors, security officers, window cleaners, and food service workers across the country. She was instrumental in reaching collective bargaining agreements on behalf of 20,000 security officers in nine major cities across the United States and played a key role in the uniting of 25,000 foodservice workers in a virtually non-union industry. In addition to her role as President of SEIU Local 2015, Butler serves as an SEIU International Vice President and President of the SEIU California State Council. Other committees and commissions include Member of LA24 –the Olympic Organizing Committee for the City of Los Angeles. She has also served as a Director for the Board of Governors of the Los Angeles branch of the Federal Reserve System and was appointed by Senator Harry Reid to President Obama’s Long Term Care Commission. A proud native of the south, Butler is a graduate of Jackson State University, in Jackson, MS.

    Jollene Levid is the Founding Chairperson of AF3IRM, and has been a part of the organization for 16 years, currently serving on AF3IRM’s International Committee. For her paid work, Jollene is a Regional Organizer for United Teachers Los Angeles – the second largest teachers union in the country, which is now getting strike-ready. She has been a union organizer, contract negotiator, and former union director for over 14 years both in the US and the Philippines. She received her BA in Political Science and Asian American Studies at UC Irvine and got her Masters in Social Work from USC. Jollene hails from Northeast Los Angeles, is a mother, a runner, and a bookworm. Jollene tries to live by AF3IRM’s belief: A woman’s place is at the head of the struggle for the liberation of all humanity!

    Liz Shuler is the Secretary-Treasurer and chief financial officer of the AFL-CIO, the second top-level officer for the federation, the first woman elected to the position, and the youngest woman to sit on the federation’s Executive Council. Liz started her career in Portland, Oregon as a proud union organizer and local union activist with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 125. Prior to her election as Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, Liz worked her way up through the ranks of the IBEW honing her mobilizing, policy, legislative and leadership skills, winning critical labor and progressive legislative fights on the west coast, and ultimately gaining executive leadership at the international headquarters in Washington, D.C. Liz’s passion for broadening the union movement drives her leadership to reach to the rising American electorate – young workers, women, people of color, and immigrants – and re-introduce unions to America. In addition to overseeing the federation’s operations and finances, Liz leads at the AFL-CIO on initiatives around the future of work, workforce development and training, industrial union councils, and women and young workers’ economic empowerment. Liz is committed to busting myths to show the labor movement’s diversity and innovative approaches to the workplace of the future, and the meaningful improvements a union voice on the job can bring to working families and our economy. Liz chairs both the AFL-CIO Executive Council Committees on Finance and Women Workers, and represents the AFL-CIO on the boards of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, the International Trade Union Confederation, the National Women’s Law Center, Global Fairness Initiative, and the Solidarity Center, among many others.

    Maimuna Syed is the Executive Director of Emerge California.
    Maimuna Syed has worked for statewide and national unions for eight years. Most recently, as Northern California Field Director at California Labor Federation, she directed the political, organizing, and legislative priorities of the organization, its unions, 17 central labor councils, and 1.2 million union members in Northern California. Among her achievements, Maimuna created and managed a ground-breaking training program for union members to promote engagement and leadership development, which has become a model across the labor community. Previously, Maimuna worked as New Mexico State Affiliate Political Organizer for the American Federation of Teachers and as Pennsylvania Political and Legislative Coordinator for AFSCME.

    Prior to coming to Emerge CA, Maimuna worked for the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. As Pennsylvania Training Director, she developed and implemented training programs for organizing, leadership development, mobilization and voter contact for over 3,000 staff and volunteers.

    Cultural Performers

    The Imaginists are an experimental theater company led by founding artistic directors Brent Lindsay and Amy Pinto and based in Santa Rosa, CA. They create and perform original work that intentionally upsets assumptions and expectations, especially our own. They explore the intersection of art and community and have been creating place-based theater for over thirteen years. Their innovative, often community-specific and site-specific, work has led to ground breaking collaborations that investigate participation on many levels.
    From bilingual performances and community projects to ensemble devised creations, the Imaginists investigate and upend dominant narrative in artistic form and story, re-imagine public space, and cultivate radical inclusion in making works of art.

    Bev Grant is a veteran social activist, feminist, and labor singer-songwriter. She founded and directs the Brooklyn Women’s Chorus and presents a multimedia performance about women’s labor history called “We Were There!” She recorded two albums with her former band, the Human Condition, and currently performs with Ina May Wool in a duo called WOOL&GRANT. Her website:

    “WE WERE THERE!” is a multi-media women’s labor history project featuring voices, songs and projected images depicting our sisters’ struggles from abolitionist Sojourner Truth, fighting for women’s rights to Dolores Huerta fighting on behalf of the farmworkers of today. It is an hour-long scripted program involving 10 local readers who represent historical characters and read from scripts provided, while images are being projected and music interjected between readings. It brings history back to life. The production is designed to allow local women to step into the shoes of these leaders by taking on their personae and reading their original writings – all against a backdrop formed by larger than life images of the women.”

  • History and Principles of the Summer Institute on Union Women*

    Union summer schools represent one of the labor movement’s few long-standing, institutionalized commitments to women’s leadership development in a multi-union setting. The first residential school was started by the Women’s Trade Union League in 1914. Based on the Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women in Industry in the 1920s, the first regional women’s summer school was held in 1974. Since 1980, four regional women’s summer schools (West, Midwest, South and Northeast) have been sponsored in part by the United Association for Labor Education and hosted/coordinated by a rotating cadre of university labor education programs in collaboration with unions as well as state and provincial labor federations.

    These women’s schools are residential, multi-day programs that usually include plenary sessions, core skills and issues classes, workshops, cultural events and union support actions. To date, the four annual UALE women’s schools have provided thousands of working women a wide range of leadership development opportunities previously unavailable. They offer women the opportunity to meet and network with women from other unions and organizations within their own region. The schools also offer a formal structure that supports cross union networking and intergenerational exchange among women labor educators and emerging women leaders. Within the labor education community, these schools are recognized as one of the few formal structures which support ad hoc collaboration and intergenerational mentoring.

    This program has trained thousands of women union members and, more recently, community activists as well. In addition to the women’s institutes, UALE runs an annual conference (April 4-7, 2018 in Seattle), produces the Labor Studies Journal, offers financial support to scholars and activists, and gives annual awards to recognize excellence in labor education. UALE is the only nation-wide organization in the U.S. bringing together labor educators based in unions, higher education, and community organizations. Please consider getting involved with UALE (

    The summer schools provide a space and time for women in the broad-based labor movement to come together to develop leadership and create community with women from other unions and organizing projects. Summer school is a place where women build their skill set and enhance their comprehension of the forces shaping our workplaces, families, and communities. In addition summer school provides a safe space to examine the ways in which gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, sexual identity, and other forms of oppression serve to divide us so we can’t do the work to unite us around our common struggles.

    The education model we embrace is one of education for action. We aim for an approach that is learner-centered, experience-based, and participatory, leading to individual and collective change. To these ends the summer school program has Five Guiding Principles. UALE asks that we share them with you.

    Principle 1: Development of Self
    The impact of external forces on our lives as womxn can create the need for us to refocus ourselves and remind us of our individual contributions. Through understanding and appreciating the importance of our many identities, participants will gain greater self-awareness and find their individual voice to add to the collective while learning how best to sustain a healthy work/life balance.

    Principle 2: Developing Relationships/Leading Others
    Union womxn activists and leaders can develop their individual communication and empowerment skills and can use those skills to build their union and to enhance the role of womxn in the union.

    Principle 3: Organizational Leadership
    Building and leading an effective organization requires developing an effective team, having a plan, working collaboratively and creating efficient structures that encourage broad participation from a significant portion of members. Womxn labor leaders can learn how to carry out a viable workers’ agenda in their unions and in their communities.

    Principle 4: Big picture
    Exploring the nuts and bolts of history and politics especially historical, economic and political history as it impacts working womxn’s lives.

    Principle 5: Intersection of Social Values in a Just World
    The summer schools are a place where issues that are controversial or difficult can be addressed with knowledge and inclusiveness. Because we work and live in a global economy it is important

    • To challenge the complexities of oppression, power and privilege in the United States and globally
    • To examine systematic oppression such as sexism, racism, and other isms.
    • To explore workers’ movements elsewhere and develop a sense of international solidarity.

    * From the November 20-23, 2014, Union Women’s Leadership Education Retreat at the Highlander Research and Education Center (New Market, TN); part of Union Women’s Leadership Education Project.

  • Gena Alexander Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1555
    Brooke Anderson Movement Generation
    Yvonne Williams Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 192
    Tara Carey California Labor Federation (CLF)
    Rachel Warino California Labor Federation (CLF)
    Sarah Leadem California Domestic Workers Coalition (CDWC)
    Sandra Weese California Federation of Teachers (CFT)
    Jessica Lawless California Teachers Association (CTA)
    Maimuna Syed Emerge California
    Louisa Lemos International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 595
    Charlotte Stevens International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1245
    Betsy Twitchell Engineers and Scientists of California (ESC) Local 20, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)
    Lis Fiekowsky Engineers and Scientists of California (ESC) Local 20, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)
    Netsy Firestein Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE)
    Sara Hinkley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE)
    Mara Ventura North Bay Jobs with Justice (JwJ)
    Brenda Munoz Kaiser Permanente Labor Management Partnership (LMP)
    Laura Stock Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP)
    Brooke Anderson Movement Generation
    Jane Thomason National Nurses United (NNU)
    Kim Tavaglione National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW)
    Maddy Hirshfield North Bay Central Labor Council (NBLC)
    Sophia Miyoshi Restaurant Opportunities Centers of The Bay (ROC the Bay)
    Julie Lind Rupp San Mateo County Central Labor Council (SMLC)
    Shelley Kessler San Mateo County Central Labor Council (SMLC), emerita and UC Berkeley Labor Center Advisory Board
    Katie Small Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 521
    Debra Chaplan State Building and Construction Trades Council (SBCTC) of California
    Catherine Cobb International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 2010
    Veronica Diaz International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 856
    Trish Suzuki Blinstrub International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 856
    Meg Vasey Tradeswomen Inc.
    Hannah Birnbaum United Auto Workers (UAW)
    Margaret Mary Downey United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2865
    Amber Parrish Baur United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council
    Ilana Master Young Workers United (YWU)

  • Kate Shaughnessy American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) United Association for Labor Education (UALE) Women’s Caucus
    Debra Kidney American Federation of State, Council and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
    Denise Moffatt British Columbia Federation of Labour (BCFED)
    Kassandra Cordero British Columbia Federation of Labour (BCFED)
    Sussanne Skidmore British Columbia Government Employees Union (BCGEU)
    Natasha Heughan-Tony International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts (IATSE) Local 891
    Ana Rosa Rizo-Centino Cabrillo College Federation of Teachers (CCFT)
    Barbara Byrd Oregon American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
    Elizbeth Espinoza University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Center for Labor Research and Education (CLRE)
    Leslie Lopez University of Hawaii Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR)
    Lynn Feekin University of Oregon (UO) Labor Education and Research Center (LERC)
    Sarah Laslett University of Oregon (UO) Labor Education and Research Center (LERC)
    Joey Hartman Vancouver District Labour Council (VDLC)
    Liz Larsen Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) AFSCME District Council 28
    Darby Frye Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) AFSCME District Council 28
    Maria Abadesco University of California, Berkeley (UC) Center for Labor Research and Education (CLRE)
  • Summer Institute 2018 Event Sponsors

    The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3299
    BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU)
    Boxer & Gerson, LLP
    Building and Construction Trades Council of California
    California Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO 
    California Professional Firefighters
    California School Employees Association (CSEA)
    Carpenters 46 Counties
    Central Labor Council of Contra Costa County, AFL-CIO 
    Contra Costa Building & Construction Trades Council
    DuRard, McKenna & Borg
    Emerge California
    International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Engineers (IAM) Local 1414
    International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
    International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 617
    Engineers and Scientists of California (ESC) Local 20, International Federation of Professional and
    Technical Engineers (IFPTE)
    Kazan, McClain, Satterley, Lyons, Greenwood & Oberman
    Kaiser Permanente Labor Management Partnership (LMP)
    Leonard Carder LLP 
    Lindquist LLP
    Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)
    Peninsula Auto Machinists Lodge 1414 
    Plumbers, Steamfitters & Refrigeration Fitters UA Local 393 
    Service Employees International Union of California
    International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Joint Council 7 
    International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 439 
    International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 2010 
    United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Region 8 – Western States Council

  • To enable those who need financial assistance to attend, particularly immigrant and young workers, we have established a Scholarship Fund. Please consider making a generous donation.

    Your contribution to the SIUW Scholarship Fund is tax-deductible and will give promising activists the opportunity to develop. Donations will go toward:

    • Tuition waivers and lost wages for low-wage workers (estimated costs $20,000)
    • Interpretation resources (estimated costs $10,000)
    • Childcare (estimated costs $5,000)

    This conference sets the basis for lasting positive and supportive relationships for women from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Investing in the next generation of women labor leaders is an investment in a resilient, thriving, powerful labor movement for all workers.

    You can pledge via credit card at For more information, please contact Karen Orlando at 510-725-7041 or

    Levels of Sponsorship:

    • Innovator – $5,000: Your organization’s name on t-shirt; your organization’s name and logo on website; special recognition
    • Trailblazer – $2,500: Your organization’s name and logo on website; special recognition
    • Visionary – $1,000: Your organization’s name on website; special recognition
    • Champion – $500: Special recognition from the podium

    In-Kind Donations reduce costs, freeing up money for key conference components. Please consider donating:

    • Translation equipment
    • Release time for bilingual staff to provide translation in Spanish, Chinese, and possibly other languages
    • Buses to transport participants to an action in support of local workers

    Help us get the word out:

    • Distribute and post our Summer Institute flyer
    • Forward this email to staff and members
    • Post information on your website
    • Send an announcement through your newsletter
    • Broadcast through social media using the hashtag #SIUW2018