The Labor Summer Internship Program introduces students to organizing skills and the history of 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 structured organizing conversations, strategic campaign planning, coalition-building, worker education and training, and campaign evaluation.
Students who apply should be excited to:
- Conduct in-person outreach and education in working-class communities, worksites, and homes
- Conduct outreach and have follow up conversations with workers by phone, email, or text
- Recruit new members or volunteers to organizational and union events
- Talk with people face to face, listen to their stories and move them to take action
- Plan and/or attend rallies, actions, and events
- Travel to different worksites on a daily basis
- Work with a flexible schedule that may include odd hours or weekends
- Be willing to push themselves and others past their comfort zones
Interns will participate in a series of workshops during orientation week, where they learn from seasoned labor and community organizers working at labor unions, worker centers and community-based organizations. Together they learn the basics of organizing conversations, identifying and developing leaders, and campaign planning.
Previous Labor Summer 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).
The Labor Summer program hopes to place students in labor-related jobs after graduation. 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). While there is no guarantee of full-time employment following the completion of the Labor Summer program, this program is a valuable opportunity to build relationships and network with labor partners in the Bay Area.
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