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 multi-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
brockma4@msu.edu



Program Schedule

2017 Program Schedule
2017 COURSES

BTA 104: Campaign Organizing

Monday, June 26, 3:00pm - Thursday, June 29, 3pm
Las Vegas, NV

Additional course information

BTA 106: Labor Law for the Construction Industry

Sunday, July 9, 7:00pm - Friday, July 14, Noon
Hanover, MD/Washington DC

Additional course information

COURSE FULL
Registration Closed

BTA 101: Strategic Planning

Sunday, July 23, 7:00pm - Friday, July 28, Noon
Hanover, MD/Washington DC

Additional course information

COURSE FULL
Registration Closed

BTA 107: Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3): Train-the-Trainer

Wednesday, August 2, 9:00am - Friday, August 4, 12:00pm
Seattle, WA

Additional course information

BTA 102: Closing the Deal

Sunday, September 17, 7:00pm - Friday, September 22, Noon
Hanover, MD/Washington DC

Additional course information

COURSE FULL
Registration Closed

BTA 107: Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3): Train-the-Trainer

Wednesday, October 18, 9:00am - Friday, October 20, 12:00pm
Boston, MA

Additional course information

BTA 105: Contract Negotiations in the Construction Industry

Monday, October 23, 3:00pm - Friday, October 27, Noon
Kent, WA

Additional course information

BTA 106: Labor Law for the Construction Industry

Monday, October 23, 3:00pm - Friday, October 27, Noon
Detroit, MI

Additional course information

BTA 103: Getting the Word Out

Sunday, November 12, 7:00pm - Friday, November 17, Noon
Hanover, MD/Washington DC

Additional course information

COURSE FULL
Registration Closed

BTA 101: Strategic Planning

Monday, December 4, 3:00pm - Friday, December 8, Noon
Detroit, MI

Additional course information

BTA 105: Contract Negotiations in the Construction Industry

Monday, December 4, 3:00pm - Friday, December 8, Noon
East Lansing, MI

Additional course information

Instructors


David Alexander David Alexander, is Adjunct Professor at the University of Oregon's Labor Education and Research Center and has been involved in worker's education for over 35 years. For the past fifteen years, he has been primarily responsible for working with North America's Building Trades Unions, AFL-CIO, 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. Prior to 2000, David spent twenty years as a full-time staff member at the George Meany Center for Labor Studies, and served as adjunct professor at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland. 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 School of Human Resources and Labor Relations at Michigan State University. He previously served as Associate Director of the School and Director of the Labor Education Program working with unions on their educational needs across the state. Prior to joining the School, he served as the Education and Research Director of the United Paperworkers International Union. He holds degrees from both Michigan State and the University of Michigan where he taught for five years on the staff of the UM Labor Studies Center. He co-directs Our Daily Work/Our Daily Lives, a program at the MSU Museum, which explores labor history and workers culture.


Dale Belman Dale Belman, PhD, 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). Dale 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, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations at Michigan State University. She teaches and consults for the Labor Education Program (LEP) and the Union Management Initiative (UMI) for unionized organizations in the private and public sectors. In addition, Julie is the Executive Director of the Building Trades Academy and the Executive Director of the Institute for Construction Economic Research (ICERES).

Prior to joining the faculty at Michigan State University, Julie spent 14 years in labor relations positions with Nestle Chocolate and Confections Company and TRW, Inc. Julie received her BA in Psychology from The Ohio State University, an MA in Organizational Communication from The Ohio State University, an MA in Labor and Industrial Relations from Michigan State University and a PhD in Adult Education from Michigan State University.


Kirk Brungard Kirk Brungard, the son of a 50-year rank-n-file IBEW member, he spent over fifteen years working as an electrician in Los Angeles before joining his local union staff in 1998 where he served as an organizer, compliance officer, business development representative and assistant business manager. While in Los Angeles, Kirk was also a badged compliance officer for both the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, and the Los Angeles Unified School District. During that period, he also drafted Electrical Safety and Training language ultimately adopted by the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, and eventually various other public awarding agencies.

In 2005, Kirk was named the IBEW's Director of Construction Organizing in Washington, D.C. While in that position the labor organization reached an all-time high in Construction membership.

In late 2009, he joined AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler as her Chief of Staff. After nearly seven years in that role, he transitioned to the Director of the Foundation for Fair Contracting for the Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and northern Virginia region.

Kirk holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Baltimore. He is a regular presenter for various large organizations and a core faculty member of the Michigan State University Building Trades Academy and the AFL-CIO's National Labor Leadership Institute.


Jim Ciment Jim Ciment, who received his PhD in American economic history from the City University of New York, has taught American history and labor history for over 30 years. He currently serves as an adjunct professor in American and labor history at Cal Poly Pomona, one of the technical and engineering-oriented campuses of the California State University system. He helped develop and taught the labor history curriculum at Empire State College in New York City, a program established in cooperation with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to help union apprentices earn their Associate Arts degrees. He has researched and written on pre-apprenticeship programs in the construction trades, most recently writing up the grant that won NABTU an $8 million, five-year US Department of Labor grant to enhance and expand the Multi-Craft Core Curriculum program (MC3). Ciment also works as an editor and writer and has published several books on economic and labor history.


Kathleen M. Conlan Kathleen M Conlan, is an educator at heart, having 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 North America's Building Trades Unions. 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 of the United Association for Labor Education.


Virginia Diamond Virginia R. Diamond, JD, is a labor lawyer and is currently the president of the Northern Virginia Labor Federation. She 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 BA from Yale University, an MA from Columbia University Teacher's College, and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law.


Bruce Holt Bruce Holt, has been a member of the IUPAT for 38 years. While employed as a Union drywall finisher he was appointed to his city's Planning and Zoning Commission, and was elected Vice Chair after 2 years. He was elected to 4 terms as an Alderman reaching Board President in his fourth term. He was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives, and then served as a Policy Advisor to two Governors of differing parties. He finished his political career as Chief of Staff for a Missouri State Senator. Bruce then was asked to serve as the Missouri State Lobbyist for the Missouri District Councils of his Union. He is now semi-retired, serving as a contract Missouri Lobbyist in the Capitol for IUPAT District Council #58 which serves Eastern Missouri and the southern half of Illinois.


Thomas Kriger Thomas J. Kriger, PhD, is the Director of Research at North America's Building Trades Unions, 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.


Peter Olney Peter Olney, is the retired Director of Organizing for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). Olney has been part of the labor movement for over 40 years. He has worked for numerous labor unions as an organizer and negotiator. Since coming to California in 1983 he has focused his work on building organization in the immigrant working class.

From 2001 until 2004 Olney was the Associate Director of the University of California's Institute for Labor and Employment (ILE). Olney has a Masters in Business Administration from UCLA. He resides in San Francisco, California.


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 MA and PhD 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 a member of the staff of North America's Building Trades Unions, AFL-CIO. Prior to that he served as Special Assistant to the President of the Building Trades. He was Executive Director of a number of institutes affiliated with the AFL-CIO and North America's Building Trades Unions, 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. Bob 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 curriculums over the years.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I expect from a Building Trades Academy course?
  • What should I bring to the class?
  • Who do I contact if I have questions?
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