Orientation Week at Union Semester

Photo features Union Semester Spring 2016 students

January 25 saw the arrival of a new crop of Union Semester students to the Murphy Institute. Students spent the next four days diving into the labor movement, learning about and from each other, and interviewing with potential organizations.

Some highlights include:

Social Justice Milestones

Students were asked to do a short presentation on an important moment that brought them to seek social justice as a passion and/or career.

The Panels

The Working in the Movement panelists talked about their current jobs at unions, plus how they got there. Our panel: Organizer Mary Clinton (Union Semester 2011) from CWA District 1 , Communications staff Rachel Van Raan-Welch (Union Semester 2012) from CIR SEIU, and Ed Yoo, the director of the NYSNA Research Department.

Panel on Working in the Movement, with Mary Clinton (alumni, now at CWA; Rachel Van Raan-Welch, alumni now at CIR SEIU; Ed Yoo, at NYSNA)
Mary, Rachel, Ed

Some tremendous Union Semester alumni came to speak about their semesters! We welcomed Brittany Anderson (Spring ’14) of Retail Action Project, Ryan Richardson (Fall ’07) with Cian, future member of Union Semester class of 2036 (pictured directly below). Hanalei Ramos (Spring ’15) of the Responsible Endowment Coalition and Liam Lynch (Fall ’13) with NYCOSH are pictured below. Thank you to Sam Valente (Fall ’14) for moderating!

Alumni Panel

Alumni Panel

Workshops

Eduardo Gonzalez Jr. from the Cornell University Extension led a terrific anti-oppression training.

Students participated in a simulation ¬†organizing campaign, involving “house calls” with various Murphy staff people.

"House calls" during a practice organizing drive
“House calls” during a practice organizing drive

"House calls" during a practice organizing drive

Professor Josh Bienstock took students through a presentation and discussion of collective bargaining, its pitfalls and potentials.

Professor Josh Bienstock in a Collective Bargaining workshop.

Interviews with Host Organizations

Thursday evening, students made signs to take to a rally supporting workers at a restaurant downtown.

Preparing for protest

Headed to a protest downtown