Education Department

The Department of Education has designed a number of training programs that allow the elected or appointed union official to better perform their duties by providing top quality designed programs facilitated by experts in the fields of representation, organizing, communication and leadership. Our programs are taken to the union hall and include Youth to Youth orientations as well as other organizing initiatives for SMART members.

The Department of Education will attempt to maintain the dates and locations listed above but may need to alter locations and or dates due to unforeseen circumstances. Please make sure to wait for confirmation after registration before booking airfare.



2020 SMART Education Department Schedule

All Class Times 8 am to 5 pm unless Sunday start



San Diego, CA

January 12-17, 2020          

Building Your Union Sunday -Friday (Sunday start time 7-9PM) Friday travel day

 This newly developed 4-day union leadership class combines some basic organizing elements with a focus on understanding the unique perspective of what organizing is from the different perspectives of union leadership within our industry.  Recognizing the disconnect from different communities within our union whose differing points of view impede the growth of our local unions and focusing of reconnecting the collective need of the local and our membership. Focusing on the premise that building the strength of a union by expanding its ability to broadly organize, the class provides systematic techniques for empowering local union organizers and the membership they work for through local leadership to member education and training and organizing participation through continued education in understanding that a strong union membership is paramount to increasing union density by building comprehensive membership involved strategies in both bargaining leverage and organizing growth.



Tempe, AZ

February 16-21, 2020

Effective Communications Sunday-Friday (Sunday start time 7-9PM) Friday travel day

This 4-day class is designed to improve and enhance the basic communication skills of our local union leadership.  The course curriculum covers basic time-tested principles and techniques for effectively and confidently conveying an intended message.  Our instructors utilize participatory immersion exercises and interactive feedback techniques coupled with video critiques and one on one teaching strategies geared towards helping individual participants find their personal best delivery method.  Participants will explore how to manage nervousness and how to give and receive feedback, along with preparation in knowing your audience, and agenda-based outline development skills. Participants should be prepared to take real life work scenarios and practice delivering timed presentations regarding these matters in small groups while being video-recorded for review.



Pittsburgh, PA

March 16-20, 2020

Advanced Agents – Monday arrival Class Tuesday-Thursday Friday travel day

This 3-day course provides advanced instruction to our elected leadership in the areas of NJAB case preparation, Duty of Fair Representation, grievance- handling, tactical use of the Plan for the Settlement of Jurisdictional Disputes, local union trials, communication, essential time management planning and improving problem-solving skills. The curriculum also provides interactive discussions on best practices methods for representing members and their families who are going through a life crisis such as Depression, Substance Abuse and other Addictive Disorders which will include an overview of Employee Assistance Programs with best utilization practices and an overview of the new SMART MAP to help us better represent our members and their families who are going through a personal or mental health crisis.



Savannah, GA – Tentative

April 13 -17, 2020      

SMART Diversity-Monday arrival-Class Tuesday-Thursday Friday travel day

This 3-day class will outline the need for the development of a diverse and supportive climate for our members in our workplaces and throughout our union.  Legal issues around bullying, hazing and harassment will be explored, and best practices shared with a strong focus on enhancing communication skills centered around bystander training and establishing culture change. Building local union women’s committees and formulating mentoring programs will also be discussed.  [Local unions are encouraged to register and bring women leaders to this training]



Washington, DC

September 13 – 18, 2020                       

New Business Representatives Workshop- Sunday – Friday (Sunday start time 7-9PM) Friday travel day

New Business Agents Workshop provides an overview of SMART Construction Departments and their responsibilities as well as the in-house programs available to local unions. National and local union strategic planning is discussed as well as grievance and arbitration procedures.  Other primary topics include; the legal rights, duties and obligations of officers, ethics, negotiation planning and strategy, global campaigns and international relationships, and the trustee/financial responsibilities of union officers.


Seattle, WA

September 21-25, 2020

Strategic Organizing Monday arrival Class Tuesday-Thursday Friday travel day

This 3-day class focuses heavily on both strategic planning and strategic campaign tactics for national and local organizing departments.  The strategic planning model includes concentration on setting goals and creating workable organizing action plans.  This is in conjunction with the building of strategic campaign platforms for larger multi area/multi state organizing targets, the utilization of pressure tactics and the legal considerations of those strategies. This class enables attendees to develop realistically achievable goals and creating and implementing a plan of action to reach them.


Denver, CO

October 5–9, 2020                    

Motivational Communication-Managing the Message- Arrival Monday Class Tuesday-Thursday Friday travel day

This 3-day class provides participants with the understanding, tools and techniques to bridge the gap of disconnect between the message leaders convey and the message being heard, in order to effectively educate, directionally motivate and successfully activate and inspire their intended audience for the purpose of strengthening our Unions. Through small group exercises and roll play, participants learn persuasive communication techniques to help influence a wide range of audiences, such as end users, non-union workers and union members.  Also explored are systems to build and maintain an effective online/on grid presence including how to control and direct your message.



San Antonio, TX

October 26 – 30, 2020

SMART Basic Organizing–Monday arrival Class Tuesday – Thursday Friday travel day   

Through formal presentation, collaborative discussion, exercises and role play, this 3-Day course will provide participants with the essential skills needed for construction, and production organizing.  This course focuses primary on “in the field topics” such as: organizing the work to grow hours, members and contractors, NLRB basics (understanding worker’s rights and an administration who is decimating them), tools for finding non-union Jobs and targeting contractors, Top Down/Bottom Up basics, election basics, Neutrality & Card Check agreement basics, “Street Law”, Jobsite & Contractor visit basics, “Pickets vs. Hand-billing vs. Bannering” and Ambulatory Picketing.  The course will also touch on Responsible Contractor Policies and understanding Davis Bacon/Prevailing Wage laws, as well as discussions on topics currently relevant to the growth and protection of our work and our industry. This course is offered not only as an introduction course for new organizers and business representatives, but also for more reps and organizers looking to get back to basics, or maybe get out of that organizing rut and back into the game



Marina Del Ray, CA

December 6 – 11, 2020

SMART Leadership Sunday – Friday (arrive Sunday Class Mon-Thursday) Friday travel day

Developed with the full-time union business representative, official and organizer in mind, this 4-day training includes various elements that are needed to be effective leaders in our industry including; Leading organizational change, building effective teams and practicing strategic decision making. Other areas of study will include the need for critical thinking and preparing for new technological advances in our industry as well as building support for the changing workforce.