District Council 37 next month will launch courses to help hone the skills of members interested in running for political office.

The 150,000-member union is introducing the program because it realized the importance of having political candidates who understand working people and labor issues—and that there were more members becoming politically active.

Sensed a Need

“We started talking about this last fall because some of the local presidents were being engaged by members who were interested in running for local office,” said Jeremy John, the union’s director of political action.


JEREMY JOHN: 'Excited to get this off ground.'

The Emerging Leaders Candidate training sessions will provide members with the “nuts and bolts” of what makes a campaign, and provide participants with the opportunity to speak with current and former elected officials about their experiences running for public office.

The AFL-CIO has resolved to encourage its members to run in local elections. Last year, nearly 300 members of the American Federation of Teachers campaigned for local elected posts across the country.

“Some affiliates across the country are doing similar programs,” Mr. John noted. “Whatever our members do, we want them to be successful at it.”

A key point for participants to remember, Mr. John said, was to stay in their lane and not take on too much.


Avoid Multi-Tasking

“Some folks see themselves as a campaign manager and a candidate and we want to make sure the candidate stays in the role of a candidate,” he said.

Sessions are open to all DC 37 members. The training will take place over three Saturday classes: the first session will take place at 9 a.m. on Oct. 5 at 125 Barclay St. The other courses will be held Oct. 19 and Nov. 2.

Although the deadline to apply is not until Sept. 30, there is already a waitlist because slots filled up quickly. Those interested in finding out more about the sessions should call 212-815-1550 or email politicalaction@dc37.net.

“The response was so surprising,” said Mr. John. “I’m just really excited to get this off the ground.”

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