Labor Center

SIUW 2012

Core Trainings

Short Workshops

Accommodation Information

Registration Information

Conference Schedule PDF

Facilitator Bios Excel

SIUW 2012


The UC Berkeley Labor Center is pleased to host the 31st Annual Western Regional Summer Institute on Union Women 2012 (SIUW). Sponsored by the United Association for Labor Education, this is a week at Sonoma State University to honor, strengthen, and support women in the labor movement.

The theme for this year's SIUW is "Campaign School for a New Generation," which captures our commitment to train, mentor, and inspire new leaders in the labor movement. 

Please join us this July in Sonoma.

Thank you!

The Summer Institute on Union Women welcomes participation regardless of race, creed, religion, ethnicity, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or immigrant status.

Please read all the information below before proceeding to registration.

Core Trainings

Strategic Campaigns: Gain skills and tools to help meet your unique challenges and create plans for campaigns that succeed. Hands-on training covers topics such as: increasing member participation, analyzing power dynamics, utilizing a timeline with benchmarks, and learning how to make strategic choices while measuring the risks. Learn how to develop a campaign that strengthens your union or community group’s ability to succeed.

Lead Organizer Development: Leadership development and mentorship training for those who want to learn how to manage and supervise in a way that builds membership participation and encourages activism. Learn how to create a leadership development plan as part of your organizing campaign. Look at ways to promote sustainable leadership through actions such as building membership capacity, using tools to ward off “burn out,” and effectively managing time.

Bargaining in Today’s Economy: These days bargaining can be painful and slow. With the economy in a recession, unions are having a hard time maintaining wages and benefits for their members. Both employers and unions are turning to non-economic issues to try to advance their agendas. Learn creative techniques and strategies for getting or maintaining a decent union contract by including non-economic benefits that are important to members. See examples of how experienced union negotiators do it!

Pathways to Leadership: The glass ceiling is slowly cracking as more women step into leadership positions—prepared or not. This training offers a range of tools to assist women striving toward leadership roles. Topics include overcoming barriers that may prevent success, building alliances and partnerships, building a supportive membership base, and wellness planning exercises for the goal-oriented woman. Throughout the training, we will examine how women in labor and community groups define “success” in today’s world.

What’s Wrong with the Economy—and How We Can Fight Back: Examine, in everyday terms, what caused the recession we are now experiencing. Take a look at the local and global causes of the economic imbalance between the 99% and the 1%, and the decline of the middle class in America. Consider the economics and the politics behind the problem in everyday terms, including recent attacks on both public and private sector unions. We will survey the opportunities presented by these challenging times to create change by building grassroots power in our communities and at the workplace.

Workers’ Rights and Advocacy Skills: Workers today face pressure on their legal rights and are vulnerable to wage theft, violations of health and safety standards, discrimination, misinformation about unemployment insurance and workers compensation, and misclassification, to mention only a few of many abuses. This course provides essential information for activists and emerging leaders on workers’ legal rights as well as an opportunity to practice a variety of advocacy skills. Topics include the right to organize, picket, and demonstrate; wage and hour law; and skills for advocating for victims of sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination. Immigrant and migrant workers’ rights will also be covered. It is an opportunity for participants to practice and develop effective skills in interviewing witnesses, gathering evidence, and building strong, winnable cases.

Short Workshops

Shout-Out! Using the Arts to Build the Labor Movement: Discover how to use and create culture for your work in the labor movement. This workshop on labor and the arts includes spoken word, singing, and dance. Put the spirit back into your organizing work!

Overcoming Stage Fright—Public Speaking Workshop: Learn quick and easy tools for becoming a more effective public speaker and overcoming stage fright. Become more comfortable speaking out at meetings, giving presentations, conducting workshops, and inspiring others to take action. The workshop covers public speaking, agitational and motivational speaking tips, plus TV and radio presence do’s and don’ts. Develop the skills and confidence to grab the microphone and have your voice be heard!

Organizing for Health and Safety at Work: Learn ways to identify and take control of unsafe and unhealthy working conditions by mobilizing workers to take action. Are budget cuts and layoffs affecting your workload? If so, how does this, along with other health and safety issues, create an “unhealthy” work environment? This workshop also provides updates on state and federal OSHA regulations. Learn and use creative options for engaging in the fight for our lives.

Family Leave and Workers’ Rights: Union members are also family members, but do we have the right to take time off for family needs? How do we expand family leave rights in union contracts? In our state and federal laws? This workshop provides an update on current family leave laws and teaches how to enforce and expand these rights through the contract. We will also examine what unions are doing to win these rights for all workers.

Political Organizing, Campaign 2012: A union’s strength lies in its ability to activate and mobilize members for political action. Campaign 2012 presents many challenges as well as opportunities for unions and community groups. This workshop offers motivational tools for engaging co-workers, friends, and family members in the political process. Learn “how-to” tips on educating members about the political process, running phone banks and neighborhood precinct activities, and role-playing exercises for volunteer recruitment. We will also discuss ballot measures that threaten and weaken the voice of working people such as “payroll deception” and “right to work.”

Corporate Research: Know your employer inside and out! Learn basic tools for conducting corporate research and how to identify financial push points to help create a bargaining strategy. Get the most out of basic research practices, including those that can be carried out over the Internet.

Messaging to Win Over Public Opinion: Do you have an “elevator speech”— a concise, clear, unforgettable message that you can deliver between two floors? Learn to be concise and create simple and easy-to-convey messages. Make use of member to member communications and public online venues. We will review and critique public service announcements, create a mock campaign, and practice live interviews.

Organizing Non-Traditional and “Invisible” Workers: A panel discussion with women leaders from various non-traditional and “invisible” work sectors such as domestic work, homecare, and migrant work. We will review alternative methods in building community and labor alliances, and discuss success stories such as the Jobs with Justice campaign. Bring your questions and learn tips from the experts for organizing these sectors.

Women in the Trades and Other Non-Traditional Jobs: While centuries-old stigmas continue to exist for women in non-traditional professions, many sisters have risen to the top, overcoming sexism, sexual harassment, and other barriers along the way. This workshop, led by experienced tradeswomen, explores how women can be successful, create alliances and mentorships, and deal with the stresses of financial uncertainties in the construction trades.

The Role of Social Media in Organizing: Learn useful online tools for organizing workers and community activists. Examine ways to effectively incorporate “social network” tools like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube into organizing plans while building on already-established electronic mediums like e-mail alerts, websites, and online newsletters. We will take an in-depth look at the “digital divide” and how it affects disenfranchised communities by limiting their access to these technologies.

The Planning Committee welcomes your input on workshop topics and speakers, as well as labor support actions, cultural events, and other activities. The registration form includes a place for your suggestions.

Accommodation Information

Save the Date
The Summer Institute on Union Women includes four full days of instruction and panel discussions, with activities over a five-day period, from Monday, July 23 through Friday, July 27, 2012. Registration begins at noon on Monday and will be followed by a Welcome Reception from 5:00 to 8.30 pm. The conference will end after lunch on Friday.

Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Ave
Rohnert Park, CA 94928

SIUW participants will stay in Sauvignon Village apartments, located on the university campus and within walking distance of our main meeting space in Cooperage. (You can view a map of the Sonoma State University campus here:; Sauvignon Village is #28 on the map, and Cooperage is #11.)

Each apartment has four bedrooms, each with its own private bath, plus a communal kitchen and living room. Within each apartment, two of the bedrooms are for single occupancy and two are for double occupancy. There is no smoking allowed in Sauvignon Village apartments.

Amenities include:
  • Full kitchen with gas range and oven, dishwasher, garbage disposal, refrigerator, and microwave oven.
  • Six-person dining room table with chairs.
  • Bed, desk, nightstand, chest of drawers, and closet for each resident.
  • Private baths with tub, shower, and linen closet.
  • Living room with sofa, two lounge chairs, coffee table, end tables, and lamps.
  • Internet and telephone jacks as well as cable television.
  • Sauvignon Green field for relaxing and playing.
  • Access to campus pools, two within a ten-minute walk from Sauvignon Village.

You can view a map of the Sauvignon Village apartments here:

If you opt for a double occupancy room and have someone you would like to room with, please indicate this on the registration form. We will do our best to meet your requests. If you haven’t arranged a roommate at the time of registration, you can email us by June 1 with that information. Otherwise we will assign you a roommate. Once you submit your request you will not be able to change it, so please make sure you coordinate with the person you want to room with before submitting a request.

Daycare will be available for children through age five. The cost of daycare is $15/hour. Reservations for daycare must be made when you register. Cancellations will be accepted until June 15; any cancellation after June 15 will incur a $20 fee.

There is no additional fee for accommodations for children, but please be advised that we are not able to provide a bed or bedding for children, so plan to bring a portable crib, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, etc., for your child(ren). Those bringing children will not be eligible for the lower double occupancy registration rate unless they line up their own roommate. Children are welcome at all meals at no additional cost. Scholarships may be available for low-income participants with children who need assistance paying the single occupancy rate.

Sonoma State University is off US Route 101. Major airports nearby include Sonoma County Airport (STS) in Santa Rosa, San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and Oakland International Airport (OAK). More travel information, including services from airports to the Sonoma State University campus, will be provided later.

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

Sonoma Wine Tasting Tour
Visitors are invited to join a wine tasting tour on Friday, July 27, from 1 to 4 pm. Shuttle transportation to three or four wineries in the Sonoma Valley will be provided for a fee of $65 per person; this does not include the wine tasting fees. For general information please visit

Registration Information

To register, complete the registration form. Please have your accommodation request available before you register. You can pay when you register, or by June 1. However, please be aware we cannot hold your space until registration and full payment is received. Space is limited, so we recommend early registration and payment. Confirmation and additional information will be sent after your registration form and full payment are received.

Registration Deadline: June 1, 2012.

The registration rates are as follows:
  • $450 for single occupancy
  • $380 for double occupancy
  • $250 for commuters
  • $75 for one day only

Included in the rates are lodging (if requested), three meals per day, plus all class materials.

Cancellations, Refunds, and Substitutions
Cancellations received by June 1, 2012, will be refunded in full. From June 2 to June 15, cancellations will be refunded at 50 percent. No refunds will be given after June 15. Substitutions are allowed, but please provide the names by July 1, if possible. Please note that you will not receive refunds until after the conference.

A limited number of scholarships are available and will be distributed on the basis of financial need. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please indicate this on the registration form.


If you have any questions regarding the program or scholarships, please call
Maria Abadesco at 707-494-2461or

If you need assistance with logistics or for general inquiries, please contact
Muttika Chaturabul at (510) 643-0910 or


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