HFIAW members attend Building Trades Academy training

Over 30 HFIAW leaders involved with organizing and contract negotiating attended Building Trades Academy (BTA) training events this fall to improve their skills and better serve their members. 

The BTA is a partnership between North America's Building Trades Unions and Michigan State University's School of Human Resources and Labor Relations.  The training is designed to provide building trades union staff and leaders with beneficial and practical skills to enhance their success and that of the unions they serve. 

The organizing class was held in September in southern Indiana, just across the border from Louisville. 

According to HFIAW Director of Organizing Robert McGuckin,  organizers from across the U.S. and Canada came together for the BTA organizing training. 

"It is always great to see seasoned organizers passing on knowledge to new organizers in our International," he said. "It is also great to see the new organizers' skills with technology and social media. These classes explain labor law and organizing tactics and build bonds between organizers from different Locals, leading to new ideas."

The training, titled "Closing the Deal," focused on developing effective communication and relationship-building skills for organizing campaigns. Participants reviewed communication strategies and practiced relationship-building through one-on-one conversation. The course also covered topics such as preparing messages for public agencies and presentation skills. bta training

Membership Development Representative James Boyd said the BTA classes are vital to the success of the organization. 

"While the classroom training is precious, the time spent amongst Brothers and Sisters engaged in growing our Union is irreplaceable. Brotherhood and Sisterhood is the most valuable resource we have.  Sharing stories, asking questions, venting frustrations with others engaged in the battle is crucial to our cause," he said.

A better understanding of contract negotiations

In October, HFIAW members from the Central States Conference gathered in Louisville for another BTA training session, this time focused on contract negotiations. 

Designed for union officers and staff members negotiating labor agreements with signatory contractors, the course covered various activities related to developing a contract -- from drafting initial proposals to gaining support during the ratification process. It also introduced participants to alternative ways contracts can be bargained and the consequences associated with them.

With most of the Local Unions in the conference preparing for contract negotiations in 2024, International Vice President of the Central States Conference Michael Hickey said they "couldn't wait" to attend the class.

"I know 2024 will be a big year for the Central States Conference," he said. "We learned long ago that our contractors have been communicating with each other for years, looking for ways to get the advantage. By us taking this class now as a group will allow us to use what we learned going forward and ... assist each other if help is needed."

Local 50 Columbus/Dayton Business Manager Dan Poteet emphasized the importance for Brothers and Sisters of the Central States Conference to know the ins and outs of contract negotiations. 

The HFIAW is committed to providing its members with the training and resources they need to organize and bargain for better wages and working conditions successfully and thanks all of the members who attended the BTA training. 

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