IAM Organizing Director Vinny Addeo and Organizing Department staff are continuing to roll out the new Basic Training for Organizers (BTO) program, recently conducting the training for IAM Rail Division members in Chicago.
This training was the first of its kind to be presented to Rail Division members and received overwhelmingly positive feedback.
“The members were very engaged with the training. Almost everyone there had minimal experience in organizing,” said Josh Hartford, IAM Special Assistant to the International President for the IAM Rail Division. “It was really good for them to be able to see right from the first step, the initial lead, all the way up through the end of an organizing campaign and negotiating a first contract.”
Since March of this year, the Organizing Department has presented its new and innovative BTO course to more than 90 IAM organizers and representatives across the IAM’s Southern, Eastern, and Midwest territories and now the Rail Division.
Transportation Communications Union (TCU/IAM) National President Artie Maratea was able to attend for the first day and said that TCU members thought the training was fantastic.
“When I became President of TCU/IAM, I wanted to change the attitude about organizing in rail and move into organizing heavily,” said Maratea. “Sal Rodriguez, Drew Maritia Brian Shanahan, and his group organized sixty people this year. We’ve got A-cards on three other properties. According to every one of them, this training took us over the top. They are excited. They learned so much strategy-wise, and they’re just ready to go.”
The three-day Basic Training for Organizers is part of the IAM Organizing Department’s Comprehensive Organizing Restructuring Plan (IAM CORP) and teaches through interactive campaign scenarios and real experiences that organizing department staff have encountered.
Plus, each BTO course is tailored to the participants’ industry and sector, covering every legal jurisdiction and labor law that the IAM organizes under but emphasizing the ones that apply to each group.
“We can’t stay stagnant. We have to grow,” said Hartford. “We’re going to have to grow outside of the Railway Labor Act, most likely, and target supporting industries of rail.”
“It is the Organizing Department’s mission to continue to educate our organizers and representatives across the union about the latest approaches and tools needed and how to put them in the best possible position to succeed,” said Addeo. “Our goal is to change the organizing culture of our great union, one organizer at a time.”