Organizing Skills

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The Learn Organizing Skills track of the Labor Summer Internship Program introduces students to unions and the labor movement. Students get the opportunity to learn from some of the nation’s most exciting and important campaigns that are making a difference for working people, especially immigrants and people of color. Interns will learn the tools of the trade such as strategic planning, communications, coalition-building, worker education and training, and campaign evaluation.

Students who apply for this track should be comfortable with, or want to learn how to do, the following:

  • In person outreach and education in working-class communities, worksites, and homes
  • Outreach by phone, email, or text
  • Recruitment of new members or volunteers
  • Talking with and meeting with people face to face
  • Planning and/or attending rallies, actions, and events
  • Traveling to different worksites on a daily basis
  • Working with a flexible schedule that may include odd hours or weekends


Learn Organizing Skills Training

As a part of the orientation, Learn Organizing Skills track interns participate in a two-day Organizing 101 Workshop, where they learn from seasoned labor and community organizers working at labor unions and community-based organizations. Together they learn the basics of organizing conversations, identifying and developing leaders, and campaign planning.

Previous Learn Organizing Skills track interns have:

  • learned how hospital workers can get organized into action for a better contract through member outreach and education (Service Employees International Union-United Health Workers);
  • witnessed security guards take action for better pay and secure jobs in the Silicon Valley (Service Employees International Union – United Service Workers West);
  • worked with community, faith, and labor organizations to raise the minimum wage through campaigns like Lift Up Oakland (East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy);
  • supported retail workers to raise standards in San Francisco through efforts like the Retail Workers Bill of Rights (United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5);
  • learned how unions use creative strategies to organize homecare workers in non-traditional workplace settings (Service Employees International Union Local 2015);
  • and learned how California nurses build community alliances to preserve and enhance public health in different counties (California Nurses Association).


Career opportunities

Students who have participated in Labor Summer’s “Learn Organizing Skills” program have used their acquired skills long after their internships ended. Past interns have continued to work in the labor movement with unions or community-based organizations including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), California Nurses Association (CNA) and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

"This experience has definitely opened up my eyes to the exploitation that can take place when there isn't a balance in power dynamics between employer and employee. I now understand the necessity of unionizing all workers, thereby promoting equality and justice as values that are foundational to enriching the community at large."
- Labor Summer Intern