What is Union Summer?
Union Summer is a leading program run by Victorian Trades Hall Council, which aims to bring young activists into the union movement.
It’s designed specifically to introduce young people to unionism, and give them first-hand experience of what unions do. It’s also an awesome opportunity for young people to contribute to building the union movement in Victoria, and to develop their campaigning and activist skills!
The program runs twice each year, during Jan/Feb (Summer) for three weeks and July (Winter) for two weeks.
The program combines training run by the Young Workers team at Trades Hall, guest speakers from the union movement and other social movements, and placement at various host unions. Participants are also expected to complete a research project during their time with their host union.
Importantly, Union Summer is a paid internship, with each intern receiving at least the adult minimum wage during the program.
What happens in a placement?
Many of the unions who host Union Summer participants will want to involve you in their day-to-day activities as much as possible – therefore, every participants experience will vary a little bit! That said, most of the people who do Union Summer will:
- Visit a work site
- Learn how to have an organising conversation
- Attend a hearing at Fair Work
- Meet with an employer
- Participate in a campaign event
- Meet delegates and rank & file members
- Be given an overview of union’s organisational and structure, including its rules
Participants also spend several days with the rest of their Union Summer cohort and the Young Workers team at Trades Hall.
As part of the Union Summer program, participants complete a research project. This is a compulsory part of the program.
Projects are completed over the duration of the program, with presentation occurring on the final day.
Participants have the freedom to choose their own topic based on their experiences with their host Union. Previous ideas have included:
- Recruitment of casual employees;
- Approaches to online communication;
- Organising apprentices around OHS;
- Activating and engaging trainees and apprentices at TAFE;
- Developing youth committees in unions; and
- Organising young workers in call centres.
Projects are flexible and will be discussed with participants before the commencement of the program.
The next program is to commence from Monday 8 July until Friday 19 July 2019.
Who should apply?
This program has been specifically designed to develop the skills and abilities of young people, and equip young people with the knowledge they need to make real changes in their schools, workplaces, and communities.
While there are no specific pre-requisites for applying, a proven interest in social justice and workplace issues is always beneficial.
The program is aimed at young workers 30 years and under.