Union Summer School 2020 — CANCELED
In-person training intensive canceled due to pandemic

Training Training Department

COVID-19 Update: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the CFT has canceled Union Summer School. More information about online learning opportunities will be forthcoming. 

The CFT Union Summer School program is geared for emerging and veteran local leaders who want to take their skills to the next level. The week-long event, to be held at UC San Diego, is filled with rigorous workshops, motivated and skilled trainers, and applied learning. There is also the opportunity to share best practices with local leaders from across the state and to find inspiration in one another’s work.

Union Summer School equips local leaders with the powerful skills to organize successful campaigns to build high-quality public education, involve members in union activities, and establish excellent representation and collective bargaining programs. Join us for this exciting four-day, union leadership program!


The CFT is offering three comprehensive courses to strengthen your union-building skills. This unique residential program includes evening group work. Participants are expected to participate for the full duration of the course. 

Learning to practice leadership that builds stronger unions

Leadership is a practice that informs and infuses all of the work done in our unions. It requires a particular set of skills and qualities, and careful attention not only to what we do as a union, but how we get our work done. This participatory course will provide participants a place to develop their own leadership styles and skills, with specific attention to the challenges most often faced by union leaders. Participants will gain a better understanding of democratic leadership that improves their success in recruiting other leaders, better organizing members and building the strength we need to win for our members. The course will also review the most important things new presidents need to know to effectively run a local union.

Financial stewardship for a strong local union

This comprehensive training will put participants at ease and provide the practical tools to effectively carry out the responsibilities of a local union treasurer. Using a hands-on approach, you’ll learn the best practices essen­tial in union administration, financial record-keeping and reports. In light of the pending Janus decision, we will also discuss budget and reporting changes. This course is open to union presidents, treasurers and executive directors.

Collective bargaining & contract campaigns

This simulation-based course focuses on the basic strategies, best practices and skills necessary to ensure that your local union is in a good position to negotiate the best contract possible. This introductory-level course is designed for new chief negotiators, new bargaining team members or those with just a few years of experience. Veteran bargaining team members who want to refresh their basic skills are also welcome to attend.

Registration & Fee Payment

COVID-19 Update: Registration is closed due to the cancellation of Union Summer School. More information about online learning opportunities will be forthcoming. 

Members who want to attend Union Summer School may register using the link below. Please note that the payment of registration fees will be done in a separate transaction after CFT has confirmed your enrollment in a course. 

  • Registration priority will be given to local unions and/or individuals who are participating in Union Summer School for the first time. 
  • Space is limited and registration will be closed when all courses are full.
  • The deadline to register is May 1.


  • The registration fee is $400.
  • The fee covers tuition, course materials, lodging and meals. Participants or local unions are responsible for transportation costs. 
  • There is no commuter rate available. This is a residential program with evening group work. 
  • Online payment: Once CFT has confirmed your enrollment in a course, you will be sent a link to pay online by credit card. If course acceptance has not been communicated to you, please email Taylor Mohel or phone the CFT Bay Area office at 510-523-5238 before submitting payment.
  • Cancellation policy: Cancellations received by June 1 will be refunded less a $75 service fee. Refund requests received after June 4 will not be granted.

About Scholarships

The CFT wants to make Union Summer School more affordable than in previous years to allow participation from more local unions. Scholarships are available for participants based on need and availability.

  • Scholarships cover lodging, meals, and tuition, but do not include the cost of transportation or parking.
  • If you require a scholarship to attend, please indicate that on the registration form and you will be sent a scholarship application. 
  • Scholarship applications are due no later than May 1.
  • If you have any questions about our scholarships, please email Taylor Mohel or phone the CFT Bay Area office at 510-523-5238.


Participants will have a private bedroom in a four-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment shared with three other attendees. The apartments have sizable kitchens and living rooms.

If you would like to be housed with specific participants, you may list up to three persons when you register. If you do not specify, CFT will assign rooming, taking any preferences into account.

Getting There

Union Summer School will be held at UC San Diego, in the Eleanor Roosevelt College.

If you are arriving by plane, fly into San Diego International Airport (SAN). The campus is about 14 miles from the airport. You will need to arrange your own transportation from the airport to the campus.

If you are arriving by car, you may find driving directions below. 

If you will be parking on campus, you can park in the Pangea Parking Lot, which costs $35 for the week. Participants are responsible for this cost. Information about obtaining parking permits will be forthcoming. 

Disclaimer: The conference is not sponsored by the University of California. The views expressed at the conference are not supported or endorsed by the University of California or UC San Diego.

Tentative Schedule

Monday, June 22

11 am Welcome and opening session

12 pm Lunch

1 pm Classes begin

6 pm Dinner and evening reception

Tuesday, June 23

8 am Breakfast

9 am Class time

12 pm Lunch

1 pm Class time

6 pm Dinner

7:30 pm Evening workshops

Wednesday, June 24

8 am Breakfast

9 am Class time

12 pm Lunch

1 pm Class time

6 pm Dinner

8 pm Social event

Thursday, June 25

8 am Breakfast

9 am Class time

12 pm Lunch

1 pm Class time

3 pm Program concludes