Election Victories

Labor Candidates Program

Want to Be a Labor Candidate?

Union members are Republicans and Democrats. That’s why we encourage union members to run through both major political parties.

No one can represent working families and their unions better than working people themselves. That’s why the New Jersey State AFL-CIO sponsors an ongoing program to recruit, train, mentor and support union brothers and sisters running for elected office. Through the New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidates School, union members gain the skills they need to succeed in the political arena.

Take advantage of the many resources available to support your election campaign! When union members run, working families win!!!

To learn more about the Labor Candidates Program or to enroll in the Labor Candidates School, please complete and submit the form below.

Labor Candidate Requirements

The President and Secretary/Treasurer agreed to memorialize the Board’s action describing the standards which must be met by a union member in order to be considered a New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidate. The standards are as follows:

  1. Union members seeking candidacy to elected office must notify and secure the support of their local union President/Business Manager
  2. As soon as the local union is advised of a union member’s intention to seek election to public office, the local union President/Business Manager shall notify the local Central Labor Council(s) and the New Jersey State AFL-CIO about their candidacy.
  3. After obtaining the support of the local union leadership, the union member seeking candidacy for elected office must be considered and reviewed by their local Central Labor Council and finally by the New Jersey State AFL-CIO.
  4. After a positive review by the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, the union member seeking candidacy for elected office must attend and graduate from the New Jersey State AFL-CIO Labor Candidates School. However, a union member who is the incumbent office holder and is seeking re-election to said office does not, if he or she so determines, have to attend and graduate from the Labor Candidates School. This personal investment by the union member demonstrates a commitment to represent New Jersey’s working families. Additionally, the union member must commit to work on WORKER/VOTER, member education, and Get-Out-The-Vote activities.


These standards were proposed by the Labor Candidates Subcommittee on January 31, 2006, and approved unanimously by the New Jersey AFL-CIO Executive Board on Monday, June 12, 2006

Labor Candidates School

The Labor Candidates School and Non-Partisan Training Seminars are the cornerstones of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s political program. At the Labor Candidates School, which is held every summer, election experts instruct union members about fund-raising and election law, research, message development, public speaking, media relations, voter contact, volunteer recruitment, targeting and get-out-the-vote. Participants are awarded full scholarships by the New Jersey State AFL-CIO.

Details about the Candidates School for 2021 are subject to the reopening of New Jersey as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

More than 150 Labor Candidates School graduates currently hold public office. These include U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, state Senate President Steve Sweeney, state Sen. Troy Singleton, and Assemblymen Joe Egan, Wayne DeAngelo, Eric Houghtaling, Thomas Giblin, Anthony Verrelli and Paul Moriarty.

As officeholders, our graduates have championed policies that reflect the priorities of New Jersey’s working families, such as paid family leave and raising the minimum wage.

Labor Candidates Pledge

All Labor Candidates must sign a pledge to uphold and actively support critical labor principles.


The New Jersey State AFL-CIO is always happy to provide additional information regarding our Labor Candidates Program, our Labor Candidates School, or our Endorsed Candidates. If you have any questions or would like to become a Labor Candidate, please do not hesitate to contact our COPE Director.

John Shea III