Summer School Courses

All In! Launching a New Era in Oregon Unionism

August 3-5, 2018
University of Oregon, Eugene, OR


As recent events in Oregon and across the nation confirm, the fighting spirit of the union movement is alive and well.  Please join us  for a weekend of exciting classes and thoughtful discussion that will help you develop your leadership skills and become part of launching a new era in Oregon unionism.

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Core Classes

Building Strong Unions in a Post-Janus World
Sherman Henry, LERC
How do you keep a union strong when members’ dues are voluntary? How do you build a union culture where members can exercise workplace democracy and are empowered?  The course will focus on creating effective strategies for member engagement, bargaining, and leadership development as we prepare for a post Janus labor relations paradigm shift. The course is for beginning and experienced member activists, elected union leaders and staff, and is taught by someone with long-time experience leading a union in a “right to work” state.

Contract Campaigns
Gordon Lafer, LERC
Successful contract negotiations require the development of a strategic action plan that includes involving members in actions to demand a fair contract; and a strategy for pressuring employers to do the right thing. This class will provide training in analyzing the employer, mobilizing members, and coordinating what happens at the negotiating table with the campaign away from the table. We will go through the steps involved in successful contract campaigns in both the private and public sectors, using examples from real campaigns.

Stand Up, Speak Out: Becoming a More Confident Public Speaker
Barbara Byrd, LERC
Would you rather do just about anything than speak in front of a group?  Do you freeze up when asked a hard question in public even when you know the answer?  Do you wish you  could speak more persuasively at meetings or rallies?  This class will help you prepare an  effective public speech, learn how to tailor your message to a particular audience, and offer tips on how to overcome your fears about public speaking.  We will practice techniques to help you feel more confident and in control, whether you are speaking at an informal worksite gathering, at a union meeting, or at a public event.


Workshop Track 1:   Promoting Women’s Leadership and Gender Justice Within Our Unions
This workshop track is specifically intended to provide women and those identifying as female or gender non-binary a space for candid discussion about important issues related to women’s empowerment and gender justice at work and in public policy.

1A   Taking the Lead:  Strategies to Promote Women’s Leadership in Our Unions,  Lori Baumann (LIUNA) and Carol Krohn (IAM)
Most unions continue to have a predominantly white male leadership. From the earliest recorded history of gendered relationships within the American labor movement, women have had to struggle for inclusion and recognition. When women have leadership roles in unions, culture and policies reflect the change in leadership dynamics.  Join us for an interactive workshop on how to encourage and support more women to take the lead at your local, including you!

1B   Prioritizing Gender Justice in your Organizing and in your Contracts,  Sushma Raghavan, UFCW 555
The right of workers to form unions and bargain collectively is a gender justice issue. Unions help women close the wage gap, rise out of poverty, and address power issues on the job.  Today, women make up nearly half of union members and are on track to be the majority of union members by 2025.  Join expert labor organizers to discuss the necessity of prioritizing gender justice in organizing and contract negotiations, and gather some new tools on how to go about doing that.

1C   Policy Approaches to Addressing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace,  Jessica Giannettino Villatoro, OR AFL-CIO and Tiffany Thompson, OR Tradeswomen
In the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements sweeping the country, stories of sexual harassment in the workplace are being brought to light at alarming yet unsurprising rates across every industry. To prevent harassment, our workplaces must end the pervasive undervaluing of women. Unions have a unique role to play in this change.  We’ve got to move beyond workplace and union policies that exist to protect the institution instead of the aggrieved.  This workshop will focus on current sexual harassment policy campaigns in Oregon.

Workshop Track 2:  Advancing Social Justice Within Our Unions

2A   Standing Up Strong:  Upstander/Bystander Actions Against Intimidation and Harassment, LaTashia Harris, Independent Consultant
In recent months attacks on marginalized communities have increased fear, despair, and   trauma for people of color, gender/sexually non-conforming persons, people with varying abilities, those of racialized immigration backgrounds, and women.   This workshop aims to provide a space and an opportunity for men and those who do not identify as women to be part of this critical conversation.

In the wake of the #Me Too movement, men have particular responsibilities to reflect on their roles and responsibilities to speak out and oppose such behavior.  How do we live by our principles as unionists?  What does it mean for others not to have the privilege of doing so? What are the repercussions of inaction and bystanding?

Come to this workshop for a thoughtful discussion of specific de-escalation and  organizing strategies we can use in our personal and working lives that enable us to stand up against intimidation and harassment and act as effective allies.

2B   Race and Labor: Let’s Talk about It: Strategies for Advancing Equity and Inclusion in Your Local Union,  Deb Kidney, AFSCME Education Dept, and April Sims, WA State Labor Council, AFL-CIO
How does racism show up in our workplaces and even in our unions? This workshop will offer specific ideas and strategies on how to interrupt oppressive moments when we see them.  We will also discuss how we can use bargaining, organizing, union culture, and community connections to make our unions more equitable and inclusive.

2C   Old and New: Organizing in Traditional Workplaces and the Gig Economy,  Alma Raya, OR AFL-CIO
Organizing is an on-going effort in the labor movement. Industries and business models might change but the power still belongs to the people and we must get creative to ensure that all workers have a seat at the table. In this workshop we will discuss traditional union tactics as well as other strategies that have reenergized a new generation of workers.

Workshop Track 3:  Game On: Political Action in 2018 and Beyond

3A   Immigration Policy Issues and Campaigns in Oregon,
Samuel Davila, SEIU Local 503, and Joel Iboa, Causa
In this workshop we will explore and unveil Oregon’s complicated history with immigration.  We will pay particular attention to the presence of both pro and anti-immigrant sentiments, the current political debate over immigration policy, and campaigns that seek to make Oregon a more welcoming state for immigrants.  The workshop will also identify specific ways in which our unions can support justice for immigrants and enhance their roles within our working-class movement.

3B   Talking Politics: Communicating Effectively About Politics with Members,  Russell Sanders, OR AFL-CIO
Learn about the latest communications techniques to help engage with members about your union’s political priorities.  Whether it is sharing information about endorsements or recruiting members to volunteer for political education events, this workshop will show you the most effective ways to spread the word.

3C  “It’s Not Just Elections”: Developing a Year-Round Political Program for Your Union,  Chelsea Watson, OR AFL-CIO
Politics affect every aspect of our lives.  Our unions are committed to winning strong contracts, attaining better benefits, and passing laws that safeguard our jobs, families, and communities.   The political power needed to meet these goals requires engagement beyond the major election seasons.  This workshop will give you the tools needed to develop and strengthen a year-round political program.

For more information:  or call 541-346-5054

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