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  5. Make Learning A Key Part Of Your Job
  1. Home
  2. Knowledge Base
  3. Local Union Presidents and VP's
  4. Stewards Guide
  5. Make Learning A Key Part Of Your Job

Find mentors and a support network to get advice, trade ideas and obtain feedback. Help set up a network of workplace representatives in your region for informal networking and organize information sessions and other learning opportunities.

Bookmark web sites of your human rights commission and labour board, and visit them from time to time. Read decisions of arbitrators, labour boards, courts and tribunals that relate to issues you are likely to deal with. Find out when arbitration hearings are being conducted in your area and whether or not you are able to attend. Gather reference materials and organize them in binders or create a filing system. The more you learn about arbitration the better workplace rep you will become.

Attend courses – our union has a world-renowned reputation among labour educators for offering an extensive system of peer-delivered programs. Our aim is to support your on-the-job learning, increasing your confidence to take on the issues that matter to our union and our members.

If you haven’t yet taken a Unifor Education course, now is the time. If you’ve been through some of our programs, it may be time to see what else we have on offer to keep you updated and deepen your skills and knowledge.

And, if you want to build a stronger local union, get to know all the programs we have on offer and encourage members from your local to participate – your job gets easier and our union gets stronger when we build throughout our membership.

Unifor education programs

Our commitment to education has played an enormous role in creating the strong social union that we are today. Union education is about defending working people and developing our understanding, commitment and confidence to change and improve the world.

Whether you’re interested in collective bargaining, grievance handling, health and safety, women’s issues, human rights, the environment, international solidarity, workers’ compensation or any other union-related issue, you’ll find that our education programs give you the opportunity to envision the world we want to live in, and begin to develop the skills and the strategies that will take us there.

Our one-day courses are offered across the country. They are open to all Unifor members – anyone can  attend and there is no registration fee. Workplace reps should take advantage of these courses to learn more about the duty to accommodate, building respectful workplaces, union activism, and much more. Reps can also promote these amongst our members as an important way of engaging workers in union and community issue. There’s something for everyone; check out the full listing of courses on our website, www.unifor.org/education-en.

More in-depth three-day courses offer leadership, workplace reps and activists opportunities to practice their skills at collective bargaining, workers’ compensation, grievance handling, and human rights. Three-day courses are delivered regionally and costs are shared 50/50 between the local union and the National Union.

Course schedules and course descriptions for one-day and three-day programs are available on our website, www.unifor.org/education-en or you can contact us at areacourses@unifor.org . Local unions can also request area schools on specific topics by contacting the Education Department at areacourses@unifor.org.

Our union’s week-long programs provide intensive training in a number of areas. Week-long programs are held at our state-of-the-art Education Centre in Port Elgin. We offer courses on everything from Steward Training to Health & Safety training to Women’s Activist to Local Union Executive Board Training – and so much more.

Week-long courses are funded through the 50/50 cost-sharing program (local unions and National Union) or through the Paid Education Leave (PEL) fund. PEL programs are paid for by employers (we negotiate their contributions) but the course content and delivery is entirely determined by the union. There is no cost to individuals for attending week-long programs – anyone interested should apply through their local union.

Our Unifor core PEL program, which is also delivered in Port Elgin, is the cornerstone of our educational programs. Spread out over several months (a week at a time), the program focuses on a number of key themes: the union, the workplace, the economy, politics and human rights. Using case studies, guest speakers, small group discussions, debates, project work, film and video, media studies and art and culture participants learn about past and current (as well as international) struggles for workplace democracy and social justice.

Registration for three-day, week-long and core programs is through your local union. Each UNIFOR local union selects their own participants. Contact your local union President or Unit Chairperson for information on how to apply.

Unifor also offers an incredible summer-time Family Education Program for members and their families. Through activities that stress learning by doing, participants look at what the union does in the community as well as the workplace. Teens have their own course. There is childcare for toddlers and a day camp for children and pre-teens. The program includes sports, games, and other vacation activities. For more  information about applying to attend the Family Education Summer Program, contact your Local Union Executive or Education Committee.

Workplace representatives are welcome to apply, and should also encourage other members of the local union to apply. If selected to attend Family Ed, the member agrees to give up her/his vacation time and the national union covers all costs of the program including travel and accommodation. Programs are offered in English and French.

All of our course schedules are on our website: www.unifor.org/education-en In addition, your local union leadership regularly receives schedules from the Education Department for both week-long courses in Port Elgin and courses offered in your area (along with call letters and registration information). For more scheduling information contact:

Unifor Education Centre in Port Elgin 1-800-265-3735 (week-long & 4-week program)

Unifor Education Department 1-800-268-5763 extension 8489 (one-day and 3-day programs)


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