IAM Basic Training for Organizers Program Travels to Wichita, Expands Reach

Workers across the U.S. are looking toward unionization in growing numbers, and that is why the IAM has coordinated training for leaders making the first contacts with prospective members.

Basic Training for Organizers (BTO) is a training initiative started in 2023. It teaches best practices and principles of IAM organizing that helps representatives in these initial steps.

Organizers from throughout the IAM gathered in Wichita, Kan., recently to receive the training.  They represented IAM staff members in the Southern and Midwest Territories, along with organizers from the IAM Rail Division.  So far the program has trained more than one hundred leaders, many are responsible for new staff members that are cross-utilized as organizers.

“Every IAM member is potentially an organizer, and we want to get the right tools to the right people for that job. We achieve that by focusing on our field leaders,” said IAM Assistant Organizing Director Juan Eldridge. “The more information that you put in the hands of our lead organizers, the better they can relay why unionism benefits workers.”

The BTO program was started by former Director of Organizing for the IAM, Vinny Addeo, now serving as Chief of Staff to the International President, who saw the need to take training to the field.  

“We saw the benefits right away with the first few courses,” said IAM Organizing Director Mike Evans. “The first contacts are crucial to the success of any campaign, so the idea was to share the best practices and get that out to the field.”

The IAM is one of the fastest growing unions in the labor movement, seeing success in new fields such as healthcare, professional services, and retail. The IAM was the first to organize retail workers at an Apple store in Maryland, and has seen over 1,000 healthcare professionals become new IAM members at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. 

BTO will be offered at events across North America by the IAM Organizing Department in the near future. Contact your Territory Organizing Lead for more details.

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