IMT for Unions

Unions have a long history of engaging in worker training and development. Manufacturing unions pioneered the apprenticeship model in industrial occupations. They led the way in negotiating significant joint labor management training agreements to ensure all union members had access to education and training to keep pace with changing technology and to advance in their careers.

The AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council, which is made up of the major industrial unions, fully supports the IMT apprenticeship as a critical element in revitalizing our nation's manufacturing sector.

The IMT apprenticeship provides an important opportunity or unions and employers to work together to build a systematic approach to address the education and training needs of entry-level and frontline manufacturing workers and union members.

• Standards: The IMT includes standards of performance that unions can use to help employers structure frontline production jobs that require a high level of skill and provide workers and union members with increased skills and a living wage.

• Customized: Once the IMT apprenticeship position has been negotiated and the pay scale adopted, IMT intermediary staff can provide guidance and support in aligning the on-the-job-learning with work processes, customizing the formal training and assessment to each workplace's requirements and helping workers develop and document the IMT competencies.

• Accelerated:  Because the IMT apprenticeship incorporates nationally recognized MSSC competency standards and assessments, it provides workers the opportunity to “test out” of some of the education modules, or achieve advanced standing in the apprenticeships, based on their current skills and knowledge in manufacturing work. Skilled employees do not waste productive work time participating in training for things they already know and can do.

• Validated Credentials: Successful apprentices are prepared for industry recognized MSSC credentials as well as for an apprenticeship completion credential (often called Journeyworker credential) that put them on a pathway to a more advanced career in manufacturing.

How It Works

Unions can partner with employers to design the IMT apprenticeship position inside of firms. This may include bargaining for: new or modified production positions; new wage scales to compensate apprentices for advanced skills; and new policies and procedures governing the recruitment, selection and promotion of apprentices and their mentors. In addition, union leaders and members support apprentices in the on-the-job-learning by providing apprentices with feedback that can help them develop and improve their manufacturing skills. Finally, union leaders can help with the expansion of the IMT apprentice throughout the advanced manufacturing sector by encouraging other union leaders to adopt the IMT apprenticeship in their bargaining unit.

Benefits for Unions

The IMT apprenticeship supports labor's agenda for revitalizing American manufacturing and providing frontline union members and workers with family supporting jobs that offer education benefits and career opportunities. Returns of the IMT to manufacturing unions are many, including…

• IMT unions help employers upgrade frontline manufacturing jobs and increase worker skills.

• IMT unions ensure all manufacturing workers and union members have access to training benefits and jobs that provide a living wage and career advancement.

• The IMT unions promote advanced manufacturing and contribute to the competitiveness of manufacturing firms and communities.

• IMT unions help prepare members from frontline production jobs for promotions and qualifying for a long-term, very high-skilled apprenticeship.