Cultivating and supporting a new generation of organizers is essential to growing our union family. Coming out of the 2018 convention, Region 2 decided to launch a summer internship program last year to make sure members who were looking to build skills and get more involved had an opportunity to develop as organizers. Now in its second year, Region 2 kicked off its most recent summer internship program in June and 14 interns who are members of UFCW Locals 27, 38, 400, 1208, 1776 and 1994 participated.
“The reason we created this internship program was to invest in our best resources–our members–so that that they could support their local’s efforts to engage our current and potential members,” said International Vice President and Director of Region 2 Al Vincent. “In six weeks, our 14 interns had conversations with 2,700 members and potential members—so this program has been a great investment for our region.”
Region 2 matched the interns with locals based on their needs and the interns completed their summer program with one of the six locals. Over the course of six weeks, the interns learned about organizing and how to engage union and non-union members. Region 2 also provided training in reflective engagement, political activism, bargaining, servicing and the value unions bring to hard-working families.
“This program helped me to realize how important it is to educate my fellow stewards as to how the organizing process works. It is so much harder than I expected,” said Tanya Sealy of Local 400, who participated in the program. “We have to do a better job of talking to new hires and helping them understand how them joining our union makes us all stronger.”
“I encourage other regions to invest in similar programs that both engage members and cultivate a new generation of organizers for our locals,” added Vincent.
For more information about this program, contact International Vice President and Director of Region 2 Al Vincent at firstname.lastname@example.org.