MITUL Consultation Process

The consultation process is at the heart of the Mooney Institute for Teacher and Union Leadership. MITUL consultation is provided for the purpose of helping local unions assess their capacity for progressive union practice and to catalyze the changes needed to engage in new strategies or consolidate new approaches.

What is MITUL consultation?

We define MITUL consultation as the provision-- by experienced union professionals and leaders -- of expert assistance to help a local union accomplish its strategic objectives. Each “expert” serves to provide an outside but empathetic set of eyes and ears, filtered through many years of experience, that help local leaders to reflect honestly on the strengths and weaknesses of the local’s work and to consider new ways of doing things.

This assistance can take many forms:

  • Organizational consultation services can include:
    • Assistance with assessment and diagnosis of the current organizational situation, gaps, needs, and challenges for achieving union goals.
    • Assistance in developing an organizational plan or program for integrating progressive unionism into the daily practice of the union.
    • Assistance in diagnosing and planning improvements in aspects of organizational functions (communications, human resources, conflict management, strategic planning, collective bargaining.)
    • Organizational Development and skill building assistance to help the local team or the local itself build capacity and readiness for change
    • Assistance with group and organizational processes that would be more effective if facilitated by objective, trained outside facilitators
  • Program/content consultation services include:
    • Technical assistance with program design from specialists in particular substantive program areas, such as teacher quality, compensation, collective bargaining, school improvement, performance evaluation, community organizing
    • Technical assistance from specialists in education research, data collection, public relations, program evaluation.
  • Leadership coaching and support (usually working with the president of the local, the president elect, or a leadership team attempting to function with a more collective or layered leadership structure and dynamic.)
    • Personal efficacy advice, including feedback on styles of leadership, time-management, management of staff, and leadership development tools.
    • Perspective on the programmatic direction of the local, including confidential reflection on strengths and weaknesses of the current direction. 
    • Examples of practices and programs that have worked in comparable circumstances and lessons learned from elsewhere – expanding the possibilities.
    • Problem-solving focused on issues or questions of felt need.

MITUL Consultation Protocol

Overview of Phase 1

The first phase of MITUL consulting is usually one or more visits that are focused on :

  1. Learning (from the client leadership) about the local union, school district and community so that the consultation team can have an initial understanding of the local context, key players, current challenges for the local, organizational situation, leadership needs, etc.

    The consultation team must be able to meet key players, read the press accounts of the local’s work (which should be assembled beforehand and available to read through), and get a sense of the climate within which the work is carried out.
  2. Helping the local union client articulate what it hopes to accomplish through the MITUL consultation process and what will be needed for the client local to achieve its objectives.
  3. Developing a plan with the local client team on what will be provided through the consultation process. This is usually described as "contracting" and it involves:
    1. helping the local union understand the consultation teams’ capabilities and goals (individually and collectively as a consultation team)
    2. determining  with the local team exactly what the MITUL consultation team will be able to provide that will meet the local team’s needs
  4. Agreeing upon the terms of a contract for at least the first phase of MITUL consulting—for data collection, written feedback and collaborative analysis.

MITUL Consultation Teams

MITUL consultants are chosen because of the depth of their experience, strength of the leadership in their own unions, mastery of organizational and communication skills, and success in practicing progressive unionism in public education. 

MITUL national coordinators work with each consultant, reviewing her/his strengths and consulting interests to determine the best fit with other consultation team members and with the local union client.