**Upcoming Building Trades Courses**

Strategic Planning for Construction Organizing Level II

November 30 - December 5, 2008
April 12 - 17, 2009
July 12 - 17, 2009
December 6 - 11, 2009

Intended to help union locals and building trades councils maximize the effectiveness of their organizing activities and to promote the efficient use of union resources, this course offers a step-by-step plan for developing and applying a comprehensive strategy. Specifically, participants will review basic concepts of planning, strategic targeting, conducting a power analysis, and strategic research for construction organizing. Participants will take part in a series of interactive, small-group exercises centered on a realistic case study. This course is designed for building trades union officers, agents, experienced organizers, or those who have attended Organizing in the Construction Industry Level I.

Organizing in the Construction Industry Level I

October 19 - 24, 2008
February 8 - 13, 2009
June 7 - 12, 2009
October 25 - 30, 2009
November 8 - 13, 2009

This course offers a comprehensive overview of organizing issues related to the construction industry, and offers concrete strategies aimed at promoting organizing throughout the industry including:

  • Working with unrepresented workers
  • Top-down and bottom-up tactics
  • Organizing and the law in construction
  • Identifying leaders and building both employer-based and industry-wide worker committees
  • One-on-one skills
  • Communications strategies, framing issues, and motivating workers
  • Introduction to strategic campaigns.

Closing the Deal

September 20 - 25, 2009

The unionized construction industry has a distinct need for market development efforts that are designed to accomplish two (2) critical objectives:  Supplement our “top down” organizing efforts to increase market share by articulating to owners and contractors the compelling and authentic "new story" of unionized construction labor in the 21st century - a story that is now rooted in a concerted commitment to accountability and "customer service;" and address the skilled workforce issue in the construction industry by enticing a new generation of young Americans to consider a career as a skilled crafts person in the union construction industry.  These two objectives are connected. They will each play a critical role in driving the overall success of the unionized construction industry.

To be successful in this endeavor, there exists the critical need to conduct communications training for the purpose of arming our local representatives with the necessary tools to effectively deliver the new, 21st century story of unionized construction. To that end, the Building & Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO has developed, in conjunction with the National Labor College, a program called “Closing the Deal.”  The program will cover: market analysis; conducting a meeting with a contractor; quantifying the union advantage; internal obstacles to effective organizing; effective communications; and, market recovery strategies. This course will serve as the foundation for multi-trade initiatives that will target specific localities across the country with the purpose of reaching out and establishing relationships with contractors, owners, and non-union skilled crafts people in that particular area.

Vocational English as a Second Language

Incorporating immigrant workers with limited English proficiency into the construction workforce creates comunication and training challenges for unions and apprenticeship programs. This course will help union leaders, trades instructors, and program administrators meet these challenges. Participants will learn about the characteristics and needs of adult English language learners, the different language competencies needed by today's workforce (speaking, reading, listening, etc.) the characteristics of a good Vocational English-as-a-Second Language (VESL) program, and the history and best practices of VESL in the trades.


This course is designed to teach participants to deliver the Multi-Trade Organizing Volunteer Education (MOVE) program. The MOVE program, developed by Cornell University and the George Meany Center-National Labor College for the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department, emphasizes membership awareness and the importance of enlisting broad multi-trade support for organizing campaigns. Participants will prepare a teaching outline and then practice their plan by teaching parts of the curriculum with others. A skilled labor educator will oversee and offer guidance, advice, and constructive feedback. There will also be discussion of various parts of the MOVE program, as well as time devoted to various teaching techniques.

Contract Negotiations in the Construction Industry

December 7 - 12, 2008
December 13 - 18, 2009

This course is tailor-made for union officers and staff members who negotiate labor agreements with construction management. This course covers a wide spectrum of activities related to hammering out a winning contract-from drafting initial proposals to gaining support during the ratification process (and various steps in between). Attention will be given to the unique problems associated with employer association bargaining. A full review of legal developments as they apply to and affect bargaining in the construction industry will also be presented and discussed. This session will culminate with students participating in a mock bargaining sessions. 

Labor Law in the Construction Industry

February 22 - 27, 2009

For the construction industry, federal labor laws include special provisions. To manage risk effectively, union leaders and staff in the construction industry must be familiar with the legal framework. This course will enable participants to identify union action that can be taken independently; that require legal assistance; or that should be avoided entirely. Topics that will be covered include paths to recognition, including salting, trigger agreements and other innovations; bargaining, including pre-hire and project agreements, multi-employer units and corporate change; traditional and nontraditional pressures, from strikes to corporate campaigns; and preventive maintenance and pro-active planning.


Register online