First “Tennessee Workers Rising” Training a Success!

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Last weekend Workers' Dignity hosted workers from as far away as Knoxville, Shelbyville, Clarksville, and northern Alabama to an intensive two day workers’ organizing training.  The hands on training covered how to overcome fear in conversation, how to identify other workers’ issues, how to get real commitments from your co-workers, and how to be successful in each stage of a house call.  Day two covered how to chart your workplace, how to assess your campaign, how to prepare for a boss’s counter campaign, how to make first contacts, and how to know and enforce your legal rights to organize.   

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The training was special for a few reasons.  

1)      It was simultaneously translated between both English and Spanish, making it the first time many of these skills were taught in Spanish (to our knowledge) in Tennessee history.

2)      The bilingual curriculum was newly written and adapted from several sources to fit this audience and was taught jointly by Brenda Perez and Garrett Stark. 

3)      Participants were able to learn from each other’s’ experience from a wide range of backgrounds ranging from members of traditional unions (UFCW Local 1995) in the poultry and grocery industries, to mattress factory workers organizing to win improvements and a union (TUCS, Trabajodores Unidos de Corsicana en Shelbyville), to Worker Center members of Workers’ Dignity working in the hospitality cleaning and construction industries, as well as a community organization members from Knoxville’s Comite Popular.

The training was made possible by tuition from UFCW Local 1995, sponsorship from Jobs with Justice of Middle Tennessee, donations from Community Food Advocates, Nashville Greenlands, and Glenncliff High School, as well as childcare, translation, and training volunteers.  

“Thanks to everyone who helped make it a success and may we continue to build the labor movement for all workers in Tennessee!” – Brenda Perez, Organizer with Workers' Dignity.

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