“Using Our Experiences & Identities to Build Power”

Three women at RetreatApril 19 - 21, 2017
Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge
Brainerd Lakes Area

The Minnesota Union Women & Femmes Retreat is part of a series of programs sponsored by the Labor Education Service to foster greater participation by women and femmes in their workplaces, unions, and communities. These educational events are developed with input from labor leaders and activists. Through formal session and informal opportunities to share meals and recreation, the Retreat provides many venues for participants to enhance their leadership skills and engage in mentoring and networking.

Registration deadline was March 31.

Get updates on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MnUnionWomenandFemmesRetreat/


Who should attend?

The Retreat is designed for working women and femmes, rank-and-file members, activists, staff and union officers. You do not need to be a union member to attend, but you should be interested in being active on workplace issues.

In planning the 2017 retreat, the fifth we have offered, we changed the name to be more inclusive. “Women & Femmes Retreat” reflects our understanding of gender as a spectrum and opens up the retreat to anyone who, in whole or in substantial part, locates themselves on the feminine side of the spectrum, including non-binary, gender non-conforming (GNC), genderfluid, genderqueer, two-spirit and transfeminine people.

Most participants are sponsored and funded by their unions. Women and femmes of color, younger activists and those from under-represented groups are particularly encouraged to attend.

The Union Women & Femmes Retreat provides the opportunity to understand and analyze workplace challenges and build the confidence and skills to address them.


General Sessions

  • Women & Femmes: Our Unique Perspectives for Building Power
  • From #BlackLivesMatter to Battling Right to Work: Organizing in Coalition
  • Working Toward a 21st Century Vision of Solidarity



  • Balancing Work, Family & Activist Commitments
  • Engaging in Difficult Conversations and Bridging Differences
  • Learning from the Disability Justice Movement
  • Supporting Women & Femmes of Color
  • Understanding FMLA, ADA, and other Legal Issues


Keynote Speaker - CeCe McDonald

CeCe McDonald is an activist, speaker, and icon in the LGBTQ community. Rising to international recognition after surviving a white supremacist and transphobic attack, CeCe has graced stages across the country where she uses storytelling to articulate the personal and political implications of being both black and trans. She fosters important conversations around mass incarceration, sexuality, and violence and is the star of the recently released feature-length documentary about her life and story, Free CeCe.


Schedule for the 2017 Retreat

Wednesday, April 19

10:30 – 11:45 a.m.          Registration and Check-in

11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.     Opening Session & Lunch

1:15 – 2:15 p.m.               Plenary Session

2:30 – 4:00 p.m.            Plenary Session

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.            Dinner

7:00 – 8:30 p.m.            Reception

Thursday, April 20

7:00 – 8:45 a.m.             Breakfast

9:00 – 10:15 a.m.           Plenary Session

10:30 – 12:00 p.m.         Workshops

12:00 – 1:15 p.m.             Lunch

1:30 – 3:00 p.m.             Workshops

3:00 – 4:00 p.m.            Open Space Meetings

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.             Dinner

7:00 – 8:30 p.m.             Evening Program

Friday, April 21

7:00 – 8:45 a.m.              Breakfast

9:00 – 11:30 a.m.            Workshops

12:00 – 2:30 p.m.            Celebration Lunch/Closing Session/Awarding of Certificates

2:30 p.m.                          Depart for Home


Adirondack chairs at Ruttgers LodgeLocation: Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge

Ruttger’s is located on Bay Lake, in the Brainerd Lakes area about 120 miles from the Twin Cities. It has hosted numerous union events, including four previous Union Women’s Retreats. You’ll enjoy a beautiful setting and delicious meals as part of the retreat package.





Register today!Single room Double room
Conference fee  $200 $200
Total cost  $540  $481

Total cost includes the entire program, educational materials, lodging for two nights, all meals and breaks during the three days. Lodging is subject to sales and resort taxes.

To maximize our goals of mentoring and networking, we are not inviting spouses or partners of participants.

Child Care

Free child care will be provided during the day, but participants must pay a room-and-board fee for children over 3. Sign up for childcare when you register.

English/Spanish Interpretation

We will provide English/Spanish interpretation. Contact the LES office, 612-624-5020, for registration materials in Spanish.


Facilities are accessible for people with disabilities. Ruttger’s is able to accommodate most dietary needs.


A limited number of scholarships will be awarded. Priority will be given to women and femmes from under-represented groups and who do not have funding available from their union or other organization. The deadline for scholarship applications was March 3.



Call or email us:

Labor Education Service



Get updates on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MnUnionWomenandFemmesRetreat/

Space is limited. Register by March 31, 2017

Cancellation policy: Conference fees are nonrefundable. However, substitutions are welcome. Please notify the LES office as soon as possible.