Leadership Training Teaches Members How to Bring Power to the Workplace, Build Ownership in the Union

Seeking new ways to build and strengthen our union, Council 57 members from throughout the state came together in January for the second installment of the Local Union Leadership Academy (LULA).

The first LULA training took place in late 2017 and served as a proactive way for union members to get reenergized, learn AFSCME leadership fundamentals and take back those lessons to their locals and chapters. The most recent training served as a follow-up.

“The biggest take-away for me was to work beyond our implicit bias,” said Grace Horton, a member of AFSCME Local 829 and a Council 57 board member. “We must become aware of and remove our implicit bias so we can all work together.”

One of the workshops focused on the topic of implicit bias, which speaks to the fact that all of us come to the table with individual prejudices based on race, class and gender. Breaking down those barriers helps our members not only feel more empowered in their workplaces but also gives each member the knowledge and understanding necessary to build a strong union with unity in mind.

The LULA program was established to give leaders the knowledge and tools to build strong, active and effective local unions. The training gives rank-and-file members the opportunity to work with skilled facilitators and get support for local actions planned in between sessions.

Twenty members attended the weekend training, where—in addition to learning about overcoming implicit bias in the workplace—they received training in having effective one-on-one conversations, organizing around workplace issues, establishing member action teams (MATs), conducting new member orientations and establishing local union goals.

Horton said Local 829 has been working hard to come up with new ways to get members involved from all its many chapters spread throughout the Bay Area’s Peninsula. So the idea they came up with after attending the LULA training was to organize a fun, family-friendly rally and invite all the members from the local to come out and get updates about the union.

“The rally is being planned at the Belmont Sports Complex, so it should be huge,” Horton said. “We’re pretty excited.”

Just like Horton, all the attendees at the LULA training were inspired to go back to their locals and get more members active in the union. Here is why our members feel so passionate about getting more people involved in their locals.