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Organizing Institute


“It’s time that working people know that they possess the outlets of power to bring justice! I’m passionate about organizing because it creates opportunities for workers to lift themselves out of poverty and get the dignity they deserve,”- Eduardo Zevallos, 2015 OI Apprentice Organizer with Writers Guild of America, East.

About the Organizing Institute

The Organizing Institute’s (OI’s) mission is to develop and promote the craft of organizing. Founded in 1989the Organizing Institute highlights the importance of organizing within the labor movement. We recruit and train new organizers; collaborate across the labor movement with community allies; and share successful approaches to support organizing and strategic campaigns.

Three-Day Training for New Organizers: Our first three-day training was launched in November 1989. Twenty-five years and hundreds of trainings later, thousands of alumni of the OI three-day—union staff and members alike—are organizing, advocating and leading the fight for social change in unions and allied organizations. Check out our current training scheduleRead more.

Organizing Institute Trainings

The OI offers several training options:

The OI offers trainings for:

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 CLOSED
Louisville, Ky. May 19–21  
Oakland, Calif. June 23–25  
Grand Rapids, Mich. July 14–16  
Austin, Texas Aug. 4–6  

Get FAQs about the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute.

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 responsibilities 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 ( or phone (202-639-6289).

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