Union Summer School 2023
In-person training intensive for union leaders

Training Training Department

Union Summer School will be held June 26-June 30, 2023 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel.

The 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 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. 


Coming soon!

Social media

  • Follow us and tag us at @CFTunion on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
  • Use the hashtags #cftsummerschool #IamCFT #CFTleaders

Schedule At-A-Glance

Monday, June 26

10 am  Registration opens
11:30 am  Lunch
1 pm  Opening Session
2 pm  Classes begin
5 pm  Dinner

Tuesday, June 27

9 am  Class
12 pm  Lunch
1 pm  Class
5 pm  Dinner

Wednesday, June 28

9 am  Class
12 pm  Lunch
1 pm  Class
7 pm  Dinner and Social Event

Thursday, June 29

9 am  Class
12 pm  Lunch
1 pm  Class
5 pm  Dinner

Friday, June 30

9 am  Class
12 pm  Program concludes; grab & go lunch will be available to take with you or feel free to eat on the terrace! 

Course Offerings

The CFT is offering five 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.

Crash Course for New Presidents


This course is designed for local presidents elected within the last two years, and those wanting a refresher course.  We will cover the basic knowledge you need as an AFT local president, provide participatory training on useful leadership skills, and allow you to share best practices and challenges leader-to-leader. 

Who should attend? Current local union presidents and those who will be seated as presidents during 2023. This course is also open to new executive board members and new executive directors.

Topics covered include:

  • How AFT, CFT, and your local union function together, what resources are available to help in your work, and what opportunities exist to participate in union governance bodies and events
  • The legal requirements of running unions that every officer should know, including the Duty of Fair Representation, and best practices for addressing issues around membership and status changes
  • How to make the most of your right to participate in new employee orientations
  • How to plan and run effective meetings
  • Best practices in communicating with your members and the public
  • How to identify, recruit and develop other union leaders
  • Networking with other local presidents to share experience and build support

Note:  It is recommended that you bring a laptop or tablet, your local Constitution and Bylaws, and the most recent collective bargaining agreement with you to the course.

Cultural Proficiency

globe in hands

This course is based on the Cultural Proficiency Framework and will allow you to put the framework into practice at your worksite. Cultural Proficiency is the policies and practices in an organization, or the values and behavior of an individual, that enable the person or institution to engage effectively with people and groups who are different from them.  Cultural Proficiency is an inside out approach that influences how people relate to their colleagues, clients, and community. Cultural Proficiency is a lens for examining one’s work and one’s relationships in schools and worksites.

Who should attend? Any members who would like to learn about cultural proficiency and how to implement the practices at their worksite.

Topics covered include:

  • Knowledgeable and competent in cultural competence practices
  • Able to recognize differences between people and acknowledge that these differences are valued as an asset in our school communities
  • Able to implement concepts into an actionable project at your worksite

Politics and Communications: Running Effective Campaigns

This course will focus on helping leaders and members strengthen the political and communications work of their local. It will feature segments that discuss COPE fundraising, identifying candidates for local office, running school board or board of trustee elections, keeping campaigns legal, effective communication for political campaigns, internal and external communication strategies, and lobbying tools for local and statewide advocacy. Participants could be local union officers, COPE chairs, and members who will be directly engaged in the local’s political and communications work.

Topics covered include:

  • Learn and  discuss COPE fundraising
  • Be able to identify candidates for local office
  • Learn how to run school board or board of trustee elections
  • How to  keep  campaigns legal, effective communication for political campaigns, internal and external communication strategies
  • Learn  lobbying tools for local and statewide advocacy

Treasurer Training: 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 format, 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.

Who should attend? This course is open to union presidents, treasurers and executive directors.

Topics covered include:

  • Learn the best practices essential in union administration, financial record-keeping and reports
  • Learn how to discuss budget and reporting changes
  • Describe the roles and responsibilities of officers, including the Treasurer
  • Learn how to calculate and pay AFT and CFT per capitas
  • Define and manage governmental compliance (IRS reporting, Dept. of Labor, etc.)
  • Prepare and manage the union’s annual budget
  •  Learn COPE requirements and procedures

 Implement sound financial controls and accounting practices

Make a strategic plan to align your union’s programs and financial resources with an organizing approach that will strengthen the union’s ability to accomplish its goals.

Winning the Best Contract — Collective Bargaining & Contract Campaigns

Register now

Collective bargaining is at the heart of union organizing. When workers act together we have a better chance of achieving gains for our families and our students. This simulation-based course will focus 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.

Who should attend? New chief negotiators and new bargaining team members, or those with just a few years of experience. Veteran bargaining team members who want to refresh their basic skills and expand member involvement in their union’s effort to win a great contract are also welcome.

Topics covered include:

  • Explain the overall role of the union and the purpose of collective bargaining
  • Organize members and expand membership in the effort to win a great contract
  • Describe the role of worksite leaders in strengthening the union’s effort to win a great contract
  • Utilize surveys to generate bargaining proposals and engage your members
  • Describe the basic legal rights connected to collective bargaining
  • Work effectively as a bargaining team
  • Act strategically at the table in different stages of bargaining
  • Cost out basic proposals
  • Plan a campaign that builds member involvement and community support

Note: A laptop or tablet will be helpful for some work in this course. If you do not have access to one, the course will work in teams and computers will be shared.



Registration is closed.

Members who want to attend Union Summer School may register using the link above. 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.
  • When you register, you will be asked to choose a single or double occupancy room. If you would like to be housed with a specific participant, you will be asked to provide the person’s name. You may also choose the commuter option. 
  • Deadline: The deadline to register for Union Summer School is June 9.

Fee Payment

pay online

  • The registration fee is $750 for a double occupancy room and $1000 for a single occupancy room. The fee covers lodging, meals, tuition, and course materials. Participants or local unions are responsible for transportation costs.
  • There is also a commuter rate of $500 that includes the cost of meals, tuition, and course materials. 
  • You or your local will be required to pay the registration fee. Local unions may pay for multiple attendees at once.
  • Online payment: Once CFT has confirmed your enrollment in a course, you will be sent an email with payment information. If course acceptance has not been communicated to you, please email Crystal Drake or phone the CFT Ventura County office at 805-485-5861 before submitting payment.
  • Cancellation policy: Cancellations received by June 2 will be refunded less a $75 service fee. Refund requests received after June 9 will not be granted.
  • Deadline: The deadline to pay registration fees is June 12.



To encourage participation from a wide range of local unions, the CFT is offering scholarships for participants based on need and availability.

  • The scholarship application period ends on May 31.
  • Scholarships cover lodging, meals, and tuition, but do not include the cost of transportation.
  • If you require a scholarship to attend please complete the scholarship packet:
  • If you have any questions about our scholarships, please email Crystal Drake or phone the CFT Ventura County office at 805-485-5861.


  • Residential participants will be housed at the Universal Sheraton.
  • You may choose between a double occupancy room ($750) or a single occupancy room ($1000).
  • If you would like to be housed with a specific participant, you will be asked to provide the person’s name. If you do not specify, CFT will assign rooming.

Getting There

If you are arriving by car

  • Set your driving directions to 333 Universal Hollywood Dr, Universal City, CA 91608.
  • Parking:
    Daily self parking $16, Valet $24
    Overnight self parking $32, Valet $50

If you are arriving by plane

  • The nearest airport is Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) or further away is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
  • Taxis are available at the airport.

COVID Safety Protocols

CFT COVID safety protocols will be in place during Union Summer School

Attendees will be required to upload proof of vaccination or an exemption in advance of the conference/meeting or present proof at time of registration. If you have already uploaded your vaccination card to CFT, you will not be required to do so again.

If proof of vaccination is needed; an email from CFT with upload instructions will be sent.

Rapid antigen COVID tests will be available on-site and attendees may voluntarily test if they choose to do so. Wearing of a mask is highly recommended but not required.