In the wake of the youth-led revolutions across the Middle East, as well as the youth-led Occupy movement here in the U.S., more and more young people are hitting the streets and taking a stand for economic fairness and the 99%. In this historic moment, the Labor Movement has the unique opportunity to grow an army of young activist-leaders who can commit their energy and enthusiasm to building a stronger movement and a brighter future.
In 2011, the National AFL-CIO sponsored the first-ever Next Up Young Workers Summit in Minneapolis, bringing together young people from all across the Labor Movement to address the serious issues facing this generation in today’s cut-throat economy.
At the Next Up conference, the California Caucus formed a statewide group, NextUp California, geared towards building a stronger young worker presence and drawing more young people into the ranks and leadership of our movement. The group has been growing and expanding across the state, connecting and partnering with local young worker groups, both within Labor and beyond.
Over the past year, NextUp California and other youth-led union and community groups have held more than a dozen events across the state, from happy hours and after-parties to campaign trainings and signature-gathering actions.
NextUp California gives young union workers the opportunity to:
connect and share their ideas, campaigns and activities • hear from experienced youth leadership community organizers • put forth ideas on ways to give young people greater access to union representation • link young union members to educational and training opportunities • develop community partnerships • get involved in labor-backed legislative campaigns • engage in political activity within their unions and labor councils
In July 2012, the California Labor Federation unanimously passed a convention resolution in support of young workers. The resolution lays out perameters for outreach and advocacy on behalf of the younger generation, and it establishes an official Young Workers Council as a constituency group of the California Labor Federation. Click here to read the full resolution.
Hear from members of California's Young Workers movement on Labor's Edge:
- “Building a New Labor Movement for a New Generation” by Rebecca Band
- “Solidarity: The Next Generation” by Niesha Lofing
- “Youth Engaged in Solidarity at IBEW 1245” by Jennifer Grey
- “Job Trek: The Next Generation” by Steve Band
- “Young Workers Charged Up at Voto Latino Summit” by Caroline O'Connor
- “Next Up: Young Workers Unite for a Brighter Tomorrow” by Sara Steffens
More resources for young workers from the AFL-CIO:
- Young Worker Group Start-Up Toolkit
- AFL-CIO Young Worker Group Research Project
- Meet the National AFL-CIO Young Workers Advisory Council
- Highlights from the 2011 Next Up Young Workers Summit
- The State of Young America
- That’s Not Democracy: How Out-of-School Youth Engage in Civic Life and What Stands in Their Way
- The Class of 2011: Young Workers Face a Dire Labor Market Without a Safety Net
- The Jobless Young: Left Behind
- U.S. Department of Labor Resources for Young Workers
- Global Youth Unemployment
- Young Workers: A Lost Decade (One Year Later)
Text YW to AFLCIO (235246) to get text message alerts (data and message rates may apply).