Service + Solidarity Spotlight: Ironworkers Political Academy Empowers Local Unions to Advance Pro-Labor Policies

Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

The Ironworkers concluded their national Ironworkers Political Academy (IPA) in Houston today. Political coordinators from all over the country attended the weeklong class, which was conducted by the international union and hosted by locals 84 and 135. It is among the most comprehensive political training programs in the labor movement.

IPA students learned the skills to represent their locals in politics. Subjects included talking to members about important union issues; overcoming partisan divides in union membership; mobilizing volunteers for electoral campaigns; building relationships with both Republican and Democratic elected officials; and lobbying strategies for state and local governments. Each student left class with a political strategic plan customized for their own local union’s challenges and goals.

The class featured a discussion with the Texas AFL-CIO about how local unions can work with their labor federations on elections and policy. “I came away so impressed by the depth and quality of the program,” said Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy (TSEU/CWA). “If we’re going to win this year and in the future, it’s going to be because of deep investments in developing new member leaders who can lead and carry out new programs.”

Forty hours of intensive training left students excited to get to work in their home locals.