Student Testimonials

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“The best part of the program is the teachers who have “hands-on” experience and other students who are from all kinds of unions, so you learn how different unions do things.” 

Mark Woomer, Business Agent, Teamsters Local 952.

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“Goals are dreams and dreams come true.  If you can think it, you can achieve it.  Labor Studies has given me a new look on life.” 

Carolyn, Jackson, SEIU Local 721, Certificate in Labor Studies, June 2013.


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“I have been taking the LA Trade Tech labor classes that have been offered at my union, these classes are very informative and help our members in the job place. Our instructors incorporate fun into our curriculum that truly makes learning enjoyable.”

Corrine Thomas, UFCW Local 324, Certificate in Labor Studies, December 2012.

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“Labor education is fundamental to the building and the longevity of the Labor Movement.”

Joaquin Miramontes, Steward, Bargaining Committee Member, Delegate to the LA County Fed for SEIU Local 721, Certificate in Labor Studies, June 2013. 


jeannette orduna photo“It’s a really great program, and it’s affordable. I learned a lot from the teachers and students because they care about the Labor Movement.”

Jeannette Orduna, Former Organizer, Full Time Student, Certificate in Labor Studies, December 2012.



“There’s power behind the knowledge we get in the Labor Studies classes. It helps me deal with management because they know that I know what they can and can’t do.”

SEIU LOCAL 721, Certificate in Labor Studies, December 2012.


“Taking these classes will empower you to be stronger with your union and your job.”                 

Diana Gandara, USW local 7600, Certificate in Labor Studies, June 2013.



“My managers know I’ve been taking classes and now graduated.  They used to treat me like a peon but now they respect me because they see that I know what I’m doing.”

Victoria wasn’t involved at all until she became a Strike Captain in the 03/04 grocery strike and lockout.  That Front Line experience inspired and motivated her to get involved, get educated.  She became a Steward and recently a Labor Studies Graduate. 

Victoria Frantz, UFCW Local 324, Certificate in Labor Studies, December 2012.

Renee Clark“The labor studies classes changed my life – made me a better person, better educated, I have a better understanding about unions and how things work.  I am more knowledgeable about policies, rules and laws than ever before.  My co-workers come to me because they know I have the answers.”   

 Renee Clark, SEIU Local 721, Certificate in Labor Studies, June 2012.



Dionne Morrissette

“The classes equip you with the skills necessary to be more involved in your union and the larger labor movement. You learn how important it is to talk about Labor to everyone, even to your family.”

Dionne Morrissette, E-Board Member, AFT Local 1521A, Certificate in Labor Studies, June 2012.




Diana Marquez“I learned about my own worker’s rights and how to stand up for them. Everyone has had workplace issues and the classes were a safe space to address them. I also gathered a network of support – teachers, other students — that I know will continuously be there for me as I grow as a student. Thank you to all!”

Diana Marquez, A.A. in Labor Studies, June 2012.


Patrice Smith

“The Labor Center classes made it possible for me, working with too much on my plate, to be educated. I learned effective public speaking, how to run a committee; really how to be a leader. Thank you.”

Patrice Smith, NALC Branch 24, Certificate in Labor Studies, June 2012.



Luis Salazar                  

I know I have the heart for social justice work, the classes gave me the tools to work smart — how to do the work and do it well.”

Luis Salazar, Organizer, Certificate in Labor Studies, June 2011.




Turner RobertsYou learned what your rights are.  The teachers are down to earth, tangible, touchable, they explain what your rights are so you can get them.”

Turner Roberts, A.A. Degree in Labor Studies 2011.



 Commuting to Ventura to work, the on-line classes are flexible and the quality is superb.  There’s a lot of interaction, even more than in-person classes.  You have time to review what you write.  The on-line classes REALLY helped my writing.”

Rudy Corral, Labor Organizer, Ventura Federation of Teachers Local 1828, Certificate in Labor Studies 2010.




Catherine Schafer“We need to be communicating to the public about our issues so that when we need public support for a strike or negotiations, it’s not out of the blue.”

Catherine Schafer, E-Board of UFCW Local 1428, Certificate in Labor Studies, June 2011.



Diane HackerAfter taking part in the 2003 Southern California supermarket strike, Diane Hacker was eager to learn all she could about the labor movement.

“I realized how important it was to know the history of unions and the laws protecting workers,” she says.  “Labor Center classes taught me all that and more.”

Diane Hacker, Steward, UFCW Local 1428, Certificate in Labor Studies, June 2010.




Carmen AtencioFor the past 13 years, Letter Carrier Carmen Atencio has taken classes at Trade-Tech.  About to earn her A.A. in Labor Studies, she credits the Labor Center for giving her the confidence to help members and build her union.

“I’ve gained knowledge,” she says, “that no-one can take away.”

Carmen Atencio, Letter Carrier, Certificate in Labor Studies.



Theodorah McKenna“When I had to step up suddenly to replace a departing president, it was my L.A. Trade-Tech Labor Studies family of instructors and classmates whose support and nuts and bolts know-how helped me grow into my new position, and better serve my members.”

Theodorah McKenna, License Clinical Social Worker, President, AFSCME Local 2712, Certificate in Labor Studies, 2009.




Daniel Cruz“I love the interaction with people from other unions – learning how others do things so I can help our members better.”

Daniel Cruz, Benefits Department, UFCW Local 1428, Certificate in Labor Studies.




Jann Whetstone“Labor Studies taught us strategic planning to organize, run and win campaigns to help stop the destruction of unions and the middle class.”

Jann Whetstone, IBEW Local 11, Certificate in Labor Studies, June 2011




Lisa Segal“Labor Studies allows me to be the change that I want to be in the workplace.”

Lisa Segal, Chemical Workers 1C, Certificate in Labor Studies.




Michael Leon“Through the Labor Studies classes sponsored by LATTC, CSEA has been able to educate our members as well as students about the benefits and importance of unions to our communities.”

Michael Leon, Field Director, CSEA, Santa Fe Field Office.




Betty MaddenA highly regarded costume designer for film and TV and a well-known local union activist, Betty Madden says Labor Center classes are a unique way to learn from – and building lasting friendships with – workers from a wide variety of different unions.

“The Labor Center,” she says, “puts you in contact with an amazing group of people.”

Betty Madden, IATSE Local 892, Certificate in Labor Studies.



Craig ConoverAfter working in film and TV, Craig was hired by Local 80 to help members with day-to-day problems.  During the Writers Guild strike three years ago, Craig used information from the Labor Center’s Community Services class to help members.

“In so many ways,” says Craig, “Labor Center classes have made me a better and more confident union rep.”

Craig Conover, Business Agent, IATSE Grips Local 80, Certificate in Labor Studies.




“Labor Studies Classes got me much more involved in my union, and I got to know people all over the union family and other leaders sharing their knowledge and experience.”

Maria Riggs, United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, OPEIU Local 537, Certificate in Labor Studies.




Lynn Brown-Lee

With a Certificate of Completion in Labor Studies and an A.A. Degree, Lynn Brown-Lee serves on her union’s health and safety committee.

“Labor Center instructors teach from real life experience.  because of that, I’ve learned how to help my fellow members in grievances and arbitrations.  These classes have given me a very solid foundation.”

Lynn Brown-Lee, Steelworkers Local 7600, Emergency Room Technician, Kaiser Fontana, A.A. Degree in Labor Studies.



Silverio AguilarA sixteen year UPS employee and Teamster, Silverio makes good use of the skills he’s learned through Labor Studies classes.

“We not only learned how to help fellow members on the job,” he says, “but how to apply what we know strategically, which builds and strengthens our unions for the future.”

Silverio Aguilar, UPS Driver, Teamster Local 63, Certificate in Labor Studies.



Pete ZimmerA full time union rep at the Claremont-based UFCW local, Pete worked twenty four years in the retail food industry, including ten months as store manager.

“I know what it takes to stand up to management,” he says, “taking classes at the Labor Center prepares you for the tough work of a union rep.”

Pete Zimmer, Union Rep, UFCW Local 1428, Certificate in Labor Studies.




Kevin HarrenAs a steward working under a Teamsters contract and now a full-time rep, Kevin credits the Labor Center – particularly Labor Law and Grievance and Arbitration – for helping him to get workers who are fire reinstated.

“I am Teamster for 25 years,” he says, “and everyday I put into practice what I’ve learned at the Labor Center.”

Kevin Harren, Business Agent, Teamsters Local 986, Certificate in Labor Studies, June 2010.



Louis WalkerA custodian for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, Louis Walker learned to protect his fellow members and himself by understanding that the contract is the key to union power.

“Labor Center students,” he says, “get to know the laws covering workers rights and collective bargaining and can use these tools in the workplace everyday.”

Louis Walker, Santa-Monica Malibu  Unified School District, Certificate in Labor Studies.


Frances is a 20-year AT & T employee and a proud member of CWA which stayed strong throughout a period of tremendous technological change.

“The Labor Center taught me leadership skills and ways to motivate and mentor my fellow members during this very challenging time in our industry.”

Frances Castro, Steward, Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 9505, Certificate in Labor Studies.  


Anthony ShieldsAs a “studio driver” working for powerful entertainment industry companies, Anthony knows his rights on the job and the critical importance of a Labor Education.

“Labor Center instructors are not just teachers but advisors,” he says.  “And you also learn so much from your fellow students who bring their own experience and point of view into the classes.”

Anthony Shields, Teamsters Local 399, Certificate in Labor Studies.


Marvin Davis“Labor Studies classes make all the difference when you’re in a leadership position in your union.  You gain a wealth of information that you put to use everyday.  It’s the best way I know to help your fellow members.”

Marvin Davis, Secretary-Treasurer, IATSE Local 683 (Lab Techs), A.A. Degree in Labor Studies, Spring 2010.





“I am proud of my sons and my union,” says Jesse, Sr. “and grateful to the Labor Center for all it’s done for my family and the Labor Movement.”

Congratulations to Jesse Renteria (right), Laborers Local 300 Steward, for earning his Labor Studies Certificate in 2007.  Laborers Local 300 Representative Jesse Renteria, Sr. (center) is also a Labor Center Graduate (2000).  Continuing the family tradition is new Labor Center student Saul Renteria (left).


Miguel Lechuga


“In Labor Center classes you learn about all different kinds of union campaigns,”  says Miguel. “I put that to use when my union picked me to work on the contract campaign with Waste Management.  That was a great victory for those workers and the Teamsters.”

Miguel Lechuga, Teamsters Local 396 steward and UPS employee, Labor Studies Certificate (2008).


Patricia Aguirre


Patricia Aguirre was instrumental in bringing labor classes to the harbor area and recruiting students.  Teaming with the Trade Tech Labor Center was great for our members,” she says, “and one of my proudest achievements as Education Chair.”

Patricia Aguirre, Education Committee Chair – Longshore Division, ILWU Member Local 63.

Jennifer GrigsbyTHE SKILLS TO LEAD

A full-time union president representing federal employees, Jennifer Grigsby completed her Labor Studies Certificate in 2007.  “I encourage all my officers and stewards to take Trade Tech Labor Center classes,” she says.  It’s the best way I know to pick up the skills to lead and run a union.”

Jennifer Grigsby, President, AFGE Local 2429.




LABOR STUDIES IN THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY “The Trade Tech Labor Center has helped me serve our members better by strengthening my authority in the eyes of employers,” Simone said. “Union members in our area can now take classes near where they live and work,” she said.

Simone Tuerlings, UFCW Local 1428 Representative, working with President Connie M. Leyva helped bring Trade Tech Labor Center classes to the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire by hosting classes at the union’s Claremont offices, Labor Studies Certificate (2007).


The Trade Tech Labor Center has been with me all the way through,” Emilio says.  One example of its value to the union, he says, is that grievances are done by Local 848 business agents, not outside attorneys.  “We know what we’re doing,” he adds, “and we save the union money.”   

Emilio Arias, Executive Coordinator, Teamsters Local 848, As a Teamsters, he has moved quickly through the ranks, as a paper mill worker, a truck driver, a business agent, an organizing director and now an executive coordinator, Labor Studies Certificate (2008).




“Classes at the Trade-Tech Labor Center made me a better organizer,” says Betty, who earned her Labor Studies Certificate in 2006.  “It’s made me more confident and improved my communication skills.  I recommend it to anyone who wants to build their union.” 

Betty Phillips, An activist, an organizer, a steward and a former board member, Betty Phillips’commitment to her union  –  SEIU United Healthcare West  –  is what the labor movement is all about.



LEARNING TO LEAD “I’m the former president of a studio security union.  Labor Studies classes prepared me for negotiations, helped me handle grievances and gave me the confidence and skills to lead my union.”

Aaron Sicoff, Member and former President, Studio Security and Fire Association, Warner Bros. Studios,  Labor Studies Certificate (2006).




“Labor Studies classes give you the knowledge and confidence to take action.  When a co-worker needs help, I now know I can effectively support them.” 

Marcus Stein, Shop Steward, IBEW Local 18, Labor Studies Certificate (2006).



Linda Luna


“The Trade Tech Labor Center has been with me from the beginning of my union career,” says Linda, who has taken classes since the early 1990s and completed her Certificate of Completion in Labor Studies (2007).  It’s opened my eyes to what it takes to be effective in the Labor Movement.”  

Linda Luna, A seasoned L.A. union activist, Linda has been an executive board member of CWA Local 9505, president of the Coalition of Labor Union Women and a staff rep and organizer for SEIU  –  United Healthcare West.




“Labor Studies classes help me become better informed, clear and concise.  I’m presenting a stronger case to management and more effectively assisting my co-workers.”

Steven Bennett, Shop Steward, ATU Local 1277, Mechanic, Riverside Transit Agency, Labor Studies Certificate (2007).




“In my work as an organizer, I put what I learn at the Labor Center right into practice in the field.  It’s a great tool for organizers.”

Mario Giron, An organizer for Steelworkers Local 675 since 2001, Labor Studies Certificate (2006).




“I’ve taken just about every Labor Studies class I can for the past three years.  Now I know what to do to help my coworkers and the labor movement.  Turning a thought into an action into a result.” 

Chris Zazueta, Steward, UFCW Local 770.





“Meeting people from different communities and cultures in Labor Studies classes has shown me that the problem of one worker is the problem of all workers.  The Labor Center at Trade Tech helps bring our movement together.”

Khalid Abd-Rahman, Security Officer, Los Angeles Office of Public Safety, Steward, SEIU Local 721, Certificate of Completion in Labor Studies (2006).




“Over the past ten years, I worked to bring Labor Center classes to the harbor area, educating many members of my union as well as other unions.  It’s helped me to become a more effective leader and has helped build union solidarity here in the harbor area.”

Cathy Familathe, President, Southern California District  Council International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Labor Studies Certificate (2000).




Along with an in-depth review and discussion of labor issues, you build relationships in Labor Center classes.  You meet lots of students who go on to become leaders in their own unions.” 

John Grant, UFCW 770, Labor Studies Certificate (1984).



“Most people don’t understand that we had to fight for everything we now take for granted.  Through Labor Center classes I learned the history of our struggle and the lessons for today’s labor movement.”

Thom Davis, IATSE Local 80, VP, IATSE Int’l, VP, LA County Fed, Labor Studies Certificate (2007).




“After I formed my own union, I came to the Labor Center to learn how unions work.  The classes were practical and situation-oriented.  What I learned one day, I could turn around and use in my union the next day.  I really learned a lot from people who live what they teach.”

Veronika Delvaux, President, Azusa Federation of Adult Educators Local 6098, A.A. Degree in Labor Studies (2005).




“At Labor Center classes we learned from each other how to solve problems and help our members.  I’m much more confident now as a steward in my department.”

David Matanga, State employee, chief steward at SEIU Local 1000, AA Degree in Labor Studies (2005).


“I gained the confidence to call the employer on the carpet when necessary.  It made me a more effective leader.”

Ed Simien, former president Steelworkers Local 8957,

Labor Studies Certificate (2005).