Past Class Descriptions

  • Communicating to Win – Effective communication for member involvement and movement building: Communication is an essential ingredient in building a strong organization that can unite and mobilize members and allies around important issues. This interactive class will walk through steps involved in assessing your union’s communications needs and capacity, identifying messages and media that best reach your audiences, considering pros and cons of print, electronic, and face-to-face formats, and developing an overall communications plan. Each participant will work on strengthening one-on-one and public speaking skills to use in leadership roles. Along the way we will analyze real examples from contract and issue campaigns and ask what lessons we can learn and apply to our own contexts.
  • Creative Workplace Organizing: Building power in the workplace is a top priority. This introductory class is for rank-and-file leaders, stewards, and activists in union or non-union workplaces. In addition to looking at grievance procedures and what they can achieve, this class will provide creative ideas for handling day-to-day problems, workplace changes, discrimination or favoritism, speed up or job combination. The focus will be moving co-workers from individual to collective solutions.
  • Building Coalitions for the Long Haul: We are always looking to build our networks, find new allies, extend our reach and leverage our power. This class will look at all kinds of coalitions, identifying best practices, whether we build them among members or with allies and community partners. The workshop will cover skills for a broad range of coalition work, focused on relationship-building, finding common cause, and long-term education for solidarity. Strengthening coalitions among women, addressing the issues that may divide us, will be a major focus.
  • Unsafe Workplaces Are Unacceptable: Every worker cares about health and safety, but most workplaces are dangerous places to work. This introductory class will focus on organizing for safety. You’ll learn how to identify and document known and hidden hazards, strategies for improving in your working conditions, your legal rights to a safe workplace, and how the fight for enforcement can unite the workforce and build local power.
  • Labor History for a New Movement: We all need to learn HOW to learn from history! This class, good for beginners as well as experienced leaders, will examine moments in history that can help us meet today’s challenges. We will examine powerful coalitions, strong working-class solidarity, creative campaigns & organizing. In addition, the class will analyze anti-worker tactics from the past and how they are still being implemented.
  • Learning to Teach – Be an Educator for Social Justice: This class will help you become a good or better trainer and educator. Every organization needs educators, not just people who train on basic skills, but who provide education that challenges and changes how workers think. The class will explore how people learn, the importance of conversations in our classes, and how to begin with what people know and draw out their own experiences. This is a “how to” course: how to design curriculum to meet your goals; how to decide which tools to use to engage participants; how to incorporate “practice” into the classroom.
  • Your Legal Rights in the Workplace – Understanding FMLA, ADA and Basic Labor Law: FMLA, ADA and the NLRA are the most far-reaching laws in workplaces and viewed as a reliable safeguard to employer abuse. This class will be divided into two parts. Part one will involve an in-depth discussion and interactive session on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Upon completion, participants will be able to identify employee eligibility, understand the laws’ protections and prohibitions, as well as identify events that may quality under the law. In the second part of this class, participants will discuss basic labor law rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), including the basic right to belong to a labor organization, and learn to identify protected activity and unfair labor charges (ULPs) under the law.