Employment Relations in Construction
Building Trades Academy
Contact Us!
Available 8:30am-5:00pm (ET) Monday - Friday
  • Send Us a Message
  • Phone:
  • Fax:
  • Mail:
    South Kedzie Hall
    368 Farm Lane, Room S416
    East Lansing, MI 48824

The Building Trades Academy

Welcome to the Building Trades Academy

The mission of the Building Trades Academy is to provide educational programs that offer useful and practical skill building for Building Trades union staff and leadership and capacity building for their unions.

The learning objectives in the classes offered by the Academy are focused on building the skills, knowledge, and understanding necessary for participants to effectively fulfill specific staff and leadership roles within their unions. To those ends, the Academy offers classes in organizing, negotiating, teaching techniques and labor law in the construction industry.

These four- or five-day residential seminars (depending on the program), led by skilled practitioners and educators, are conducted in an atmosphere of solidarity. Nearly all are conducted in conference/educational centers owned and operated by Building Trades affiliated unions and their union employer partners.

The Building Trades Academy is in partnership with Michigan State University for Academy administration.

Download the Building Trades Academy Catalog
Download the Catalog

And now the Academy can come to you!

Find out how to bring the Academy to your area by
downloading the catalog or by contacting:

Dr. Julie L. Brockman
Executive Director
Building Trades Academy
(517) 432-4772

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What should I expect from a Building Trades Academy course?
  • What should I bring to the class?
  • Where are the Building Trades Academy classes held?
  • What are the course fees and payment information?
  • What are the room & meal fees?
  • Who do I contact if I have questions?


Program Schedule

Please note when registering that some programs begin on Sunday evening versus Monday morning.

Program Schedule 2015
BTA 106: Labor Law for the Construction Industry
(2014 Group)

Sunday, October 25, 7:00pm - Friday, October 30, Noon
Hanover, MD/Washtington DC
Additional course information


BTA 107: Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) - Train-the-Trainer
Monday, November 9 - Friday, November 13
Detroit, MI
Additional course information

BTA 101: Strategic Planning
Monday, November 9, 3:00pm - Friday, November 13, Noon
Chicago, IL
Additional course information

BTA 105: Contract Negotiations in the Construction Industry
(2014 Group Final)

Sunday, November 15, 7:00pm - Friday, November 20, Noon
Hanover, MD/Washtington DC
Additional course information


BTA 102: Closing the Deal
(2015 Group)

Sunday, November 29, 7:00pm - Friday, December 4, Noon
Hanover, MD/Washtington DC
Additional course information


BTA 101: Strategic Planning
Monday, November 30, 3:00pm - Friday, December 4, Noon
Seattle, WA
Additional course information

Program Schedule 2016
BTA 102: Closing the Deal
Monday, February 29, 3:00pm - Friday, March 4, Noon
Chicago, IL
Additional course information

BTA 102: Closing the Deal
Monday, March 21, 3:00pm - Friday, March 25, Noon
Los Angeles, CA
Additional course information


David Alexander David Alexander is Adjunct Professor at the University of Oregon's Labor Education and Research Center and the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland. He has been involved in worker's education for over 30 years. Prior to 2000, David spent twenty years as a full-time member of the staff at the George Meany Center for Labor Studies, the predecessor to the National Labor College. For the past fifteen years, he has been primarily responsible for working with the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trade Department in the design and coordination of courses in their curriculum, and is the lead faculty person on the Contract Negotiations in the Construction Industry class. He has worked with a number of international unions on a variety of educational programs.

John P. Beck John P. Beck is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Resources & Labor Relations at Michigan State University. He previously served as associate director of the School, primarily in charge of two of the School's outreach units, the Labor Education Program and Union Management Initiatives. He also co-directs a project (with Karen Klomparens, the Dean of the MSU Graduate School), "Building Mutual Expectations and Resolving Conflicts in Graduate Education," on the use of interest-based conflict resolution approaches for graduate students and their faculty mentors. John holds degrees from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. He worked for five years on the staff of the University of Michigan Labor Studies Center. He has taught labor studies on the community college level in both Oklahoma and Michigan and has taught history and education courses at the university level.

Dale Belman Dale Belman is a professor in the School of Human Resources & Labor Relations at Michigan State University. He conducts research on unions and has forthcoming research on construction unionism (with Allen Smith). Belman has also written about truckers and trucking, public-sector employment, minimum-wage and low-wage work. He received his master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College.

Julie L. Brockman Julie L. Brockman is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations at Michigan State University. As an instructor, Julie has conducted workshops at local and national levels for union organizations and their joint partners. As a consultant, she assists unionized organizations, both within the private and public sectors, in developing and implementing joint union/management initiatives. In addition to her work with the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Julie coordinates the Conflict Resolution Program for the Graduate School at Michigan State University. Julie's primary research interests focus on the workplace as a location for adult learning and development, negotiation and conflict resolution, the process of joint union/management collaboration and professional development of adult educators.

Prior to her work with the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, Julie was employed by the Nestle' Chocolate and Confections facility in Fulton, NY ('86-'95) and the TRW, Inc. Aircrafts Components Group in Euclid, Ohio ('84-'86).

Kirk Brungard Kirk Brungard is a second generation electrician and was initiated into Los Angeles's International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 11 in 1983. After working as an Apprentice, Journeyman, Foreman and General Foreman in the field, he was appointed as a local union organizer in 1998. He eventually headed up in the Los Angeles LMCC Compliance Office and also worked with the newly formed Business Development Office.

In 2005, Kirk was appointed as an International Representative for the IBEW, moving later to the Director of Construction Organizing post. Kirk was appointed the Executive Assistant to the Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO in October 2009.

Kirk attended the University of California at Los Angeles and California State Northridge, later receiving his B.A. in labor studies from the National Labor College. In 2004, he graduated from the University of Baltimore with a Master's in public administration.

Kathleen M. Conlan Kathleen M Conlan is an educator at heart, having just retired (June 2012) from the Education Director position with LIUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America). Kathleen has also spent many years teaching for the National Labor College, Penn State University and the Building and Construction Trades Department. She has her master’s degree in Labor Studies from UDC; a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in Economics; and is certified as an Employee Benefits Specialist. Kathleen is a member and officer of the United Association of Labor Educators.

Virginia Diamond Virginia R. Diamond is a labor lawyer who began her career as an organizer with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union in Virginia. She was Assistant Director of the Department of Organizing and Field Services at the National AFL-CIO, and has taught organizing and labor law at the National Labor College (formerly George Meany Center).

Virginia has worked with the Service Employees International Union, the United Auto Workers, and the Virginia AFL-CIO. She is the author of several publications on organizing including "Organizing Guide for Local Unions," "Numbers that Count: Guide to Internal Organizing," and "Labor Law Handbook."

She has a B.A. from Yale University, an M.A. from Columbia University Teacher’s College, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. She is Of Counsel with Ashcraft & Gerel, LLC.

Fred Kotler Fred Kotler coordinates and teaches in the Organizational / Membership Development course series. He writes reports, articles and training materials related to construction industry labor relations, Project Labor Agreements, and transportation infrastructure. He served as Director, Cornell / New York AFL-CIO Union Leadership Institute, Associate Director, Cornell Construction Industry Program, and Director, Labor Education Program at Northern Michigan University. Fred has worked as a community and union organizer as well as a local union business agent.

He attended Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley, and received his law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Thomas Kriger Thomas J. Kriger, PhD is the Director of Research at the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO. From 2008 to 2012 Kriger was Professor of Labor Studies and Provost and Vice President for Academics at the National Labor College. He was Associate Budget Director for Research and Policy for the State University of New York System Administration from 2007 to 2008. From 1998 to 2007 he served as Assistant to the President and Director of Legislation and Research for United University Professions (Local #2190), the American Federation of Teacher's largest higher education local. Kriger has held faculty positions at the University of Northern Colorado, Providence College, and St. Lawrence University and is the author of numerous publications on labor issues.

Gene Morrill Gene Morrill is Senior Staff Associate Emeritus and Coordinator of Performing Arts at the George Meany Center for Labor Studies-The National Labor College. Mr. Morrill has been at the Meany Center since it opening in 1974. He developed and now teaches all oral communication and media courses for the Center. He also teaches communication skills in their courses on organizing, arbitration and collective bargaining. Off campus, Mr. Morrill has trained the staff of several international and national unions and has participated in a variety of educational programs throughout the labor movement. In the past 25 years, Mr. Morrill has been invited to train for and facilitate labor movement initiatives in countries such as Central and Latin America, the Caribbean, Bulgaria, Hungary, South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt, Romania, and Canada. Mr. Morrill is now retired from the NLC faculty, but remains active in supporting the labor movement through training, education and organizing.

Glenn Perusek Glenn Perusek is an instructor/course coordinator for the Organizational and Membership Development course series. He has served as director of the Center for Strategic Research at the AFL-CIO in Washington, DC; as strategic research manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and worked on strategic campaigns at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. He was instructor/coordinator for the AFL-CIO/Cornell University program on strategic research and campaigns. He earned a B.A. from Kent State University and holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago, where he was a Merriam Fellow and won the Baker Prize. His publications include Shifting Terrain (2006). Perusek was a journeyman member of the typographical union in Chicago.

Robert Pleasure Robert Pleasure is Special Assistant to the President of the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO. Prior to that he served as Executive Director of a number of institutes affiliated with the AFL-CIO and the Building Trades, including the George Meany Center for Labor Studies (now the National Labor College), CPWR (the Building Trades Health and Safety Research Institute), and the AFL-CIO Center for Working Capital. He worked with John Sweeney, former President of the AFL-CIO, as Assistant to the President for Education and Training. Most recently, Mr. Pleasure took leave from the Building Trades and served on the Presidential Transition Team, U.S. Department of Energy, between November 2008 and January 20, 2009, when he returned to the Building Trades. He graduated from the College of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan Law School, and completed an M.Sc. degree at the London School of Economics.

Greg Raftery Greg Raftery is currently with the IUPAT Organizing Department and is Special Assistant to the IUPAT General President. His union organizing experience is extensive, working in positions such as International Director of Organizing; Regional Organizing Coordinator; Regional Director of Organizing; Lead Organizer; Staff Organizer and VOC Organizer. In addition to his organizing experience, Greg has worked as a Local business representative as well as a trustee on various trust funds. Greg has been invited to sit on various political committees and was Labor-Lobbyist for Missouri and Illinois. Greg has a passion for teaching labor education/organizing and has developed a number of course curricula over the years.

Michigan State University
© Michigan State University Board of Trustees. East Lansing, MI 48824
MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer.

Conference Room Calendar | Maintained by: webmaster@hrlr.msu.edu

Facebook logoLinkedIn logoTwitter logoFlickr logo
School of Human Resources & Labor Relations
South Kedzie Hall
368 Farm Lane, Room S403
East Lansing, Michigan, USA 48824
Phone: 517-355-1801 | Fax: 517-355-7656