By AMY WOODWARD
(Mar. 2, 2017) — Many of you have heard of the Union Summer internship program, but have you had the opportunity to sponsor or house an intern? Now’s your chance!
On Wednesday, April 12 from noon to 1 p.m., the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will host an information session, featuring past interns and details about this year’s program, at the WSLC Seattle office, 321 16th Ave. South. (Download a flier with more details.)
In 2016, SEIU 1199NW and the M.L. King County Labor Council ran the program, and it was a huge success. Interns worked with Initiative 1433 and were instrumental in getting the minimum wage and paid sick/safe leave initiative on the fall ballot. Ultimately, several new organizers were hired straight out of Union Summer.
Community engagement and education are more vital now than ever. In 2017, the Union Summer program is focused on building labor power and deepening unions’ ties to communities throughout the state. Historically marginalized groups can learn about unions, about what we’ve accomplished together and what’s possible when workers organize. Labor education days — like Unions 101 and Organizing 101 — taught by the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center are part of the curriculum.
Interns will bring this experience and knowledge back to their diverse communities, helping people to empower themselves and see how their issues are linked to labor’s issues — in their organizations, at their workplaces and at the ballot box.
Organizing, canvassing and direct action will be part of interns’ work. Do you have a campaign event or direct action in mind? We could potentially be a part of your direct action or campaign. For the crucial special election in the 45th Legislative District, these interns will be fired-up feet on the ground for canvassing, door-belling and other Labor Neighbor efforts.
Unions sponsoring an intern can choose from one of two options:
House an intern. This could be a potential staffer for organizing efforts, office staff or communications help — whatever you might need. If your union is great at developing and mentoring folks, this is perfect for you. Once the program ends, you just might find your next staff member.
Gift an intern to a labor-community partner. The partner organization will be granted a staffing opportunity that they otherwise might not have had the resources to fund.
With either scenario, both labor and communities benefit tremendously and immeasurably. This is how we build labor power!
If you want to sponsor an intern or get details, make plans to attend the April 12 information session, or email Amy Woodward. Hurry and commit soon! We are already getting interest from affiliates and want to ensure that all those interested can get paired with an intern.