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Three-Day Training

The Organizing Institute (OI) runs a highly selective, paid training and placement program to match talented individuals, from a variety of backgrounds who want to be union organizers, with unions looking to expand their organizing programs. The OI offers participants a thorough look at a variety of unions so individuals are matched with the union most appropriate for them.

2017 Schedule

Orange County, Calif. Jan. 27–29 CLOSED
Chicago Feb. 10–12 CLOSED
Atlanta March 17–19 CLOSED
Orange County, Calif. April 7–9  
Louisville, Ky. May 19–21  
Oakland, Calif. June 23–25  
Grand Rapids, Mich. July 14–16  
Austin, Texas Aug. 4–6  

Union Members, to apply to a training, click here.

Nonunion Members, to apply to a training, click here.

Responsibilities of a Union Organizer

A union organizer assists workers in gaining union representation. An organizer informs workers (mostly nonunion workers) about their rights, identifies and develops leadership skills and runs campaigns for union recognition.


You must be energetic and committed to building the union movement, possess solid communications and leadership skills, be able to travel extensively and relocate and have a valid driver's license. Union, student or community organizing experience is preferred. People of color, women and bilingual individuals are strongly encouraged to apply.

What Kind of Training Will I Need?

Organizing Institute training gives an intensive look at the work of a union organizer. Participants learn one-on-one communication skills, as well as campaign and strategic planning skills. Housing and meals are provided. Selected applicants participate in a three-month, paid field-training program in which they learn union-building skills firsthand.

Job Placement

Trainees who successfully complete the program are recommended by the OI to be hired by local and national unions. Annual starting salaries range from $30,000 to $40,000, with excellent benefits.

For more information, email us or call 1-800-848-3021.

Advanced Organizing Workshops


Chicago June 7–9
Washington, D.C. July 19–21
Washington, D.C. Dec. 6–8

The curriculum for this training was developed in collaboration with senior staff from partner unions. It's designed to give organizers a chance to step back from the day-to-day and think about strategic planning and long-term goals to win power for the working class. This training will help organizers with field experience take on greater responsibility for planning, leading—and winning—successful campaigns.

The workshop focuses on:

•Critical thinking skill.
•Creating plans that build momentum.
•Articulating plans to justify choices.
•Strategies for leading teams through decision making and planning.

There is a special focus on thinking through community allies and strategies outside the workplace and applying core organizing principles to different ground models.

We held the initial session in September 2014 and received great reviews from the organizers who attended. The cost is $150, and attendees must be selected and sponsored by their union.

For more information, please contact Lynn Rodenhuis, director of the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute, by email ([email protected]) or phone (202-639-6289).

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