Labor group, UMass to conduct training sessions

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst campus FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/20/2022 8:39:10 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A new series of trainings will premiere next month to help educate workers about unions and how to organize them.

The trainings are a collaboration between the Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation and the UMass Labor Extension Program. The first session is on Aug. 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 640 Page Boulevard in Springfield. Registration is available on the federation’s website and its social media.

“Our goal is to do these trainings quarterly,” said Lydia Wood, executive director of the labor federation.

The federation is a coalition of many western Massachusetts unions, while the Labor Extension Program seeks to provide education to workers, unions and other organizations.

Wood said the trainings are being held in response to the high support for unions across the nation, and are looking to reach out to people who want to unionize and also folks who aren’t clear about what a union is.

“We want to demystify that process,” Wood said.

She noted the union campaign at the Trader Joe’s in Hadley, as well as the successful unionization of employees at Amherst Cinema and at the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.

“We’re seeing this union upsurge across the country,” she said.

One of the people conducting the trainings alongside Wood will be Clare Hammonds, a faculty member at the UMass Labor Center who primarily does extension work. The Pioneer Valley Workers Center also will likely be involved.

“It’s going to be a really exciting partnership and training,” Hammonds said.

“A union is just really a democratic organization,” Wood said. “Working people in a workplace who use their collective power to improve things.”


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