The UC Berkeley Labor Summer Program, hosted by the UC Berkeley Labor Center, offers undergraduate and graduate students paid, eight-week internship opportunities to work with labor and community organizations in California. Students learn how to organize and conduct research addressing issues facing working-class immigrants, women, and people of color.
Through the program, Sanchez-Castro interned with Trabajadores Unidos Workers United (TUWU), formerly known as Young Workers United, which aims to improve the quality of jobs and raise standards in the low-wage service sector in San Francisco for young and immigrant workers.
Sanchez-Castro shared details about her experience as an internship experience below.
Internship: UC Berkeley Labor Summer Intern
Organization: Trabajadores Unidos Workers United (TUWU)
Location: San Francisco
Employer Type: Non-profit Community Organization
Employer Size: 5-10
Can you tell us about your role as an intern for Trabajadores Unidos Workers United (TUWU)?
It was a mix of in-person and remote work. I was able to go out into the field and do outreach, specifically in the Mission District in San Francisco, and share know-your-rights information about the minimum wage which recently increased. We also got to hear about people experiencing workplace violations and refer them to resources.
Other times, I would work remotely to conduct research and create surveys with the purpose of learning about how the reopening of businesses as pandemic regulations are being lifted impacts workers. We focused specifically on the Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 39 area because it experiences heavy tourism.
Can you share some thoughts about your organizing experience?
I was able to go shadow an organizer to a workplace for the first time and start a conversation with a worker. By the end of the month, our goal was to bring workers from Fisherman’s Wharf together to learn more about their rights and covid-19 protections, and just build up community solidarity, which we find is essential to building power.
I was honestly terrified at first, but I put on my big girl pants! As opposed to the initial outreach that I was doing during the earlier part of my internship, this experience was about trying to organize a workplace and build people power in this area. It was super rewarding to be a part of that. It gave me a really big appreciation for organizing and how you can build collective power.