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UCARE Summer Highlights: Coming together for workers’ rights

Bonner Leader Rachael Carter shares her reflection on her internship with AFSCME international union.

Hello! 

My name is Rachael Carter and I am a rising junior. This summer, I am interning at AFSCME, an international union that has over 1.6 million members. I have been with Council 13 in Harrisburg with my partner Kyle for 10 weeks. After spending spending some time in Harrisburg for our first week, we went to Harvard for training in union organizing. We had some intense days, but it was great to meet the other scholars and meet with Harvard and AFSCME staff. After that, my partner and I headed back to Harrisburg, and then we headed straight out to Reading for the Next Wave Conference which is for AFSCME union members that are under 35. We spent the week engaging in conversations about AFSCME’s history, public policy and organizing. Most of our days we come down to District Council 88 in Montgomery County to work with a unit call the Court Appointed Non-Professionals unit. There are over 400+ people to engage with so it’s a lot. I usually make a walk sheet on google docs to plan which houses we are going to and also mark off the places we have already been, and we strategize about how best to connect with the potential members. I love this job and getting a chance to talk to real people about ensuring their rights as workers. I never thought that even in this current age unions could be so important to the work place. 

As a Bonner, I really feel like my work during the year has really helped me transition into this role. I believe that my time in Bonner has allowed me to be very comfortable talking to people about the things they want to see done in their community or workplace and also create long lasting connections. Because I am in Harrisburg and in MontCo, I get to work in Collegeville, Norristown and Philadelphia a lot which is where many of our service sites are! It has been amazing to get to work with such a wonderful staff both at the International and at Council 13.