UCLA IRLE | September 12, 2023
Just as “hot labor summer” was raging across Los Angeles, the inaugural cohort of UCLA Labor Summer fellows were growing their organizing skills at local labor and community organizations tackling social and economic justice topics at the intersection of race, class, gender and immigration status.
Beginning in mid-June, fellows attended union meetings, conducted interviews and labor research and joined solidarity actions with current unions on strike such as the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA.
Hosted by the Dream Resource Center at the UCLA Labor Center, this recently-established fellowship program also coincided with the historic expansion of labor centers across the University of California which made the program possible.
“Labor Summer 2023 is the first statewide project organized by all nine UC Labor Centers. More than 100 youth participated in exciting union and community projects over the summer, and their collective impact will resonate,” said UCLA Labor Center Director Kent Wong. “At a time when worker mobilization is intensifying throughout California and across the country, Labor Summer could not be more timely.”
At UCLA, fellows consisted of 18 undergraduate and graduate students and recent graduates — including 8 labor studies majors.
At the conclusion of their summer fellowship, participants attended a closing retreat and graduation ceremony in Oakland, California that brought together 134 fellows representing all nine UC Labor Centers. At the retreat fellows participated in workshops focused on self-care, art and the labor movement and a job fair. They also heard from a distinguished line-up of speakers that included CA: Assembly member Liz Ortega (D- East Bay), Alameda Labor Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Keith D. Brown, UNITE HERE Local 2 organizer Paola Chacon and Civic Engagement & Faith-Rooted Organizing Deputy Director Saabir Lockett.
Below we received a collection of memories and reflections from this inaugural cohort of UCLA Labor Summer fellows.