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Launch of Officer Institute 2.0

The Education and Training Department has recognized a need for more in-depth study on many of the topics covered at the Officer Institute. Therefore, advanced officer training was conducted with the first session in February 2016 at “Officer Institute 2.0.” 

Graduates from the original training have requested advanced classes on many topics, but the two most requested classes are in Organizing and Secretary-Treasurer skills. The programming for Officer Institute 2.0 will focus on these topics. In order to attend one of the advanced sessions, participants must have graduated from one of the eight previously-held Officer Institutes. However, the Secretary-Treasurer’s portion was open to anyone currently serving as the Secretary or Treasurer of their Local. 

The Secretary-Treasurer class was led by General Secretary-Treasurer James Wood, General Counsel Samantha Dulaney, International Trustee Patricia White, IATSE Accountant James Heinzman, and Instructor Grainger Ledbetter from the University of Arkansas Labor Education Program. In addition, Canadian attorney Laurie Kent of Koskie Minsky LLP and accountant Michael Pajak of MNP LLP expertly guided the Canadian students when unique situations for that country came into focus.

The three day curriculum included advanced work in issues of Financial Record Keeping, Labor Law, IATSE Procedures and Resources, Fiduciary Responsibility, Fraud Prevention, Taking Minutes, IATSE Constitution and Bylaws, and more. Legal, financial, and IATSE specific topics were explained, discussed, and dissected in depth throughout the course, with “best practices” being emphasized.

The Organizing 2.0 class studied Labor Law as it applies to growth and organizing as well as the nuts and bolts of one-on-one communications and persuasive presentations. IATSE Associate Counsel Adrian Healy, who once worked at the National Labor Relations Board, led the session on the law. Tactical content on targeting and research gave students hands-on opportunities to collect data on specific employers in their jurisdictions. Preparation for the employer’s anti-union campaign and inoculation grounded students in the realities of the landscape on which we are operating. Other teachers included IATSE Assistant Director of Education and Training Robyn Cavanagh; Labor Educator Yvonne Syphax, Patrick Scott, Deputy Director of the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute; as well as various IATSE leaders.

Two of the most popular sessions were panel presentations from seasoned IATSE organizers and some workers who joined their IATSE local unions through various organizing campaigns. Entitled

“The Organizer and the Organized,” the first panel featured the voices of veterans on both side of the organizing conversation.

Panelists included Frank Alves Local 11, Boston Stagehands, Greg Calvin, Local 100, New York City Broadcast Technicians, and Samantha Smith, Local 798 Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists. International Vice President and Local 8 President Michael Barnes, International Vice President and Co-Director of the Stagecraft Department Dan Di Tolla, and Motion Picture Department International Representative Scott Harbinson.

The first session was held February 1-4, 2016 at the Maritime Institute outside of Baltimore, Maryland. Future Officer Institute 2.0 training will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, from November 30 to December 2, 2016.