Bonnie Ladin Union Skills Course Descriptions


Arbitration Preparation and Presentation I

This hands-on class takes both new and advanced advocates through all the steps needed to thoroughly prepare and present an arbitration case involving discipline and just cause. Participants work in teams and receive extensive individual instruction, feedback and support from a union-side labor lawyer while they practice oral advocacy and presentation of evidence for a mock hearing. The class places special emphasis on techniques for developing a theory of the case and for thoroughly investigating and analyzing facts and contract language. Discussions include tools from class that can be shared with stewards committees, as well as strategies for avoiding arbitration. Participants receive additional feedback and critiques at the conclusion of the mock arbitration hearing. A required advance assignment guides participants through the case file before coming to class. (6 days; tuition $1,422; daily lunch included)

Arbitration Preparation and Presentation II

This class builds on Arbitration Level I and teaches participants to analyze, prepare, and present a case involving past practice. As in Level I, participants will prepare the case in a workshop setting where they receive detailed critiques and the week culminates with a mock arbitration hearing after which participants receive additional feedback. Additional discussions address the role of member organization, documentary evidence, information requests and bargaining unit surveys in establishing and proving past practices. A required advance assignment guides participants through the case file before coming to class. (6 days; tuition $1,422; daily lunch included)

Brief Writing for Arbitration

This class takes beginning as well as advanced arbitration advocates through the step-by-step process of researching and writing a polished brief in a real case. Participants receive extensive guidance, editing assistance and individual feedback and support from the instructor as they work individually and in groups to finish their briefs. An advance online assignment with easy-to-follow instructions guides participants through reading the case transcript before coming to class. (6 days; tuition $1,422; daily lunch included)

Contract Negotiations in the Private Sector

The unique challenges posed by private-sector contract negotiations will be explored fully in this course, which explores the role of the chief negotiator, from preparing initial proposals to ratifying a contract. Developing committee work and record-keeping procedures; the use of economic data in bargaining; the design of a bargaining campaign; and preparing for and directing the ratification process also will be covered. A highly effective part of the course is a tough bargaining exercise designed to help participants effectively weigh negotiating strategies and tactics. (6 days; tuition $1,422; daily lunch included)

Strategic Grievance Handling

This hands-on class teaches local leaders and staff how to organize around workplace problems to build the union and increase member involvement. Most grievance handling is done in contract “servicing” mode without involving members or contributing to the organizational strength of the union. And members are often told that the problems most important to them can’t be grieved if they aren’t covered by the contract. In this class, participants identify key problems from their own workplaces and analyze any relevant contract language and legal rights. They then practice the organizing skills needed to plan and execute campaigns around these problems. Skills taught include listening to and canvassing members, mapping and charting the workplace, planning campaigns based around concerted activities and training and recruiting worksite leaders. Optional evening sessions are provided for those who need or wish to review the basic legal rights of stewards. (6 days; tuition $1,422; daily lunch included)

Writing and Negotiating Contract Language

Participants in this course will learn how to develop effective bargaining strategy and how to write contract language. Participants will learn the “how-to’s” of writing contract language: defining and analyzing issues, developing proposals, and writing the actual language. In addition, particular kinds of contract language will be examined. Throughout the week, participants will work on a number of case studies. NOTE: Prior to enrolling in this course, it is strongly recommended that participants have experience as a member of a union negotiating committee. (6 days; tuition $1,422; daily lunch included) 


Immigration A to Z

Immigration is one of the most divisive and perplexing issues for unions around the world, especially in the United States during the age of President Donald Trump. This hands-on course will demystify this topic and provide union leaders, staff, stewards and activists the tools to thoroughly understand the issue of immigration and its impact on labor standards and workers’ rights. Multi-sector and multi-union participation will enrich the discussions, through presentations, exercises, simulations and class participation. (5 days, tuition $790; lunch included Tuesday–Thursday)

New Young Staff

This course is for new young staff who work for a labor organization, have minimal union history, experience and are relatively new to the labor movement. This course is designed to help prepare new staff for the protocols and culture of the labor movement, but also to help young union staff make their greatest contribution. Whether you work for an international union, district council, large local union, state federation, central or area labor council, this class will help you to find your voice and contribute to the revitalization of the labor movement. This course will cover the structure of the labor movement and its organizations, the vocabulary needed to function in a union organization, and the impact of labor history and recent issues on labor culture. The class will be held over two-and-a-half days, Monday through Wednesday noon, at the IBEW building located at 900 7th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Continental breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided. (2.5 days, the tuition of $300 will cover the cost of food and materials. Those traveling from out-of-town will need to arrange for hotel accommodations.)

QuickBooks Training for Secretary-Treasurers and Union Bookkeepers

This is a hands-on class in the computer lab, designed for developing participant’s proficiency with QuickBooks, as it relates to a financial operation of a typical local. The class is for beginners and advanced users of QuickBooks. The workshop will provide participants an excellent understanding of QuickBooks tailored to the needs of their local. Topics covered in the training class will be a comprehensive overview of QuickBooks, Chart of Accounts, Writing Checks, Banking Deposits and Reconciliations, Payroll Review and Information, Budgets, Credit Cards and Treasurer and Financial Reports, and other information and topics. Use of QuickBooks for Mac is not covered. (3 days; tuition $993; daily lunch included)

Secretary-Treasurers and Officers Fiduciary Responsibilities Training

It is crucial for the entire executive board of a local to understand their fiduciary responsibilities. This training will cover the legal responsibilities of union officers and review the LMRDA (the law that governs labor unions) and IRS rules and regulations. The workshop will cover various aspects of managing the financial side of administering a union, as well as managing the union finances through setting policies and procedures, as well as organizing and managing the finances and budgeting. Other topics covered during this training include, travel and business expenses, insurance, record keeping, payroll information, bank accounts, and union credit cards and budgeting. This course is designed for all local unions. (3 days; tuition $893; daily lunch included)

Secretary-Treasurers Total Solutions

Secretary-Treasurers manage hundreds of thousands of dollars of the membership and local’s money. They have the responsibility to ensure the prudent handling of funds and compliance with all the regulatory requirements dictated by the IRS and Department of Labor. This four-day workshop is design for all locals (LM-2, LM-3, LM-4), providing participants with effective tools to accomplish their filings and learning their fiduciary responsibilities. In addition, the class is hands-on, in the computer lab, designed for developing participant’s proficiency with QuickBooks as it relates to a financial operation of a typical local. The workshop material will provide participants with an excellent understanding of all the new requirements and assist with vital information relating to manage their local finances. (4 days; tuition $1,258; daily lunch included) 


Presentation and Teaching Techniques I

With an ever-present need for renewed activism and broader involvement among the rank-and-file, membership education is a top priority of today’s unions. This course—ideal for union staff, leaders and activists who want to engage members to take action—covers a broad range of education skills and training techniques for effective presentations at conferences, workshops, union meetings or other settings. Since most adults learn better when actively involved, this class stresses the use of participatory techniques to actively engage participants in the learning process. Practice teaching is a key component of the course, with guidance and feedback provided by a skilled labor educator. (6 days; tuition $1,422; daily lunch included) 

Presentation and Teaching Techniques II

A follow-up to Teaching Techniques I, this course offers participants the opportunity to upgrade their presentation and teaching skills. The course expands on participatory presentation techniques, developing teaching materials, leading discussions and effective team teaching, along with providing a forum to exchange ideas with other experienced labor educators. Practice teaching, with critique, is an important part of this program. (6 days; tuition $1,422; daily lunch included)


Organizing I

Through role play and discussion, participants will refine their skills and expand their knowledge about organizing. This is an ideal course for staff new to organizing, as well as those who want to learn more about the latest strategies to grow their union. Participants will examine a typical local union campaign in the private sector from start to finish. Participants will learn about one-on-one communications, develop a workplace committee and explore campaign strategies. Employer anti-union campaigns, legal strategies and planning skills also will be emphasized. (5 days; tuition $1,422; daily lunch included)

Organizing II

This course, focusing on the private sector, is designed for those who have completed Organizing I, who have comparable organizing experience, or who will assume (or have assumed) greater organizing responsibilities. Specific elements include recruiting and training of union members in the organizing process; leader development; corporate campaign research; legal strategies; database/reporting procedures; campaign issues and theme development; community involvement; campaign planning; and progress analysis. (5 days; tuition $1,099; lunch included)


Negotiating Contracts with State and Local Governments

Union officers and staff who negotiate labor agreements with state, county and local governments will benefit from this course, which explores the role of a chief negotiator at different parts of the bargaining process. Specifically, participants will scrutinize the preparation and design of initial proposals; the development of committee work and record-keeping procedures; the structure and function of opening statements; economic bargaining; and preparation and directions of the ratification process. A highly experienced union negotiator will walk participants through a tough municipal bargaining exercise aimed at encouraging the participants to weigh negotiating strategies and tactics. NOTE: Federal-sector negotiations will not be addressed in this course. (6 days; tuition $1,422; daily lunch included)