As a way of giving workers a voice so that the economy starts working for all workers, the AFL-CIO has developed Common Sense Economics (CSE), a flexible organizing tool. It’s a workshop and curriculum designed to help participants (union and non-union workers, stewards and local union activists) understand that working people can and must change the direction of our national economy; that economic outcomes are a result of political choices; and that working people can impact political choices through voting, volunteering, and activism.
CSE complements what the UFCW is already doing with our organizing, bargaining, and political programs to try to change the national discussion about working people and low wage workers. It’s particularly relevant to the UFCW’s work to raise the bar for workers in the retail industry.
The core module of the workshop is an hour and fifteen minutes. It includes:
A “lived experience exercise” in which participants will explore how the economy is affecting their lives.
A presentation of facts, an interactive “inequality exercise” that helps participants visualize how wealth is distributed in our country.
A “victory video” that shows that when people work and fight together, we win and create change in public policy.
There is also a section at the end designed to connect with local organizing, bargaining and political campaigns.
Additional modules that cover other important topics using an economic lens (each module is approximately one to two hours in length) include:
1. Women and Families
2. Young Workers
5. Mass Incarceration
The AFL-CIO is sponsoring Regional Train-the-Trainer Workshops:
June 4 – 5: Vancouver, WA (Portland airport) Contact: Randy Parraz at firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 284-9745
June 9 – 10: San Antonio, TX Contact: Carmen Rhodes at email@example.com or (720) 849-2758
June 12 – 13: Orlando, FL Contact: Lorenzo Scott at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (678) 644-0392
Two UFCW staff have already been trained in using the CSE tool and UFCW will be training more staff this summer in order to assist local unions and regions who want a CSE program at a region conferences, stewards conferences, or other activist trainings. Local unions can contact their region director for more information.