Welcome to the Next Three Years!

Welcome to the next three years! First of all, I would like to thank the delegates who represented the membership at our recent convention for their faith in my leadership. I heard what you said loud and clear. You want strong representation, fair collective agreements, strong communication and more training.

I pledged to do my best to deliver, and I will do just that. The thing is, I can’t do it alone. To accomplish all those tasks I need the help of many.

Over the last two terms, we have built an amazing team at Yukon Employees’ Union. Our staff is second to none, and it’s largely because of their efforts that so much of the work mandated by the 2014 Convention has been accomplished.

Delegates to the 2017 Triennial Convention have elected a strong Executive, too. I am really looking forward to working with this diverse group, and I’m especially pleased that they represent workers from many Locals, not only the largest.

What can you expect from the new Executive? Top of the list of deliverables will be worksite visits. We are also planning Rand drives – inviting dues paying but unsigned members to sign union cards. Rand drives help strengthen locals, since dues are remitted to the Local based on the number of signed members. Being “in good standing” allows members to fully participate in union business and to access all the benefits of union membership. More and more often we are learning that new hires are not being given union cards to sign by their Human Resources contact, and many don’t have any idea what the union is doing on their behalf. We mean to work on that, starting now.

We know that the challenges to our negotiated contracts are growing in step with national trends. All bargaining units can be assured that YEU is standing with your bargaining team every step of the way. If your collective agreement is due to be renegotiated, you’re in good hands. PSAC provides us with expert negotiators, experienced and strong. Fully resourced teams supported by their members have the resolve to stand firm in the face of ever increasing pressure from employers.

We want to make sure we reach you with our communications. Please take a moment to register to receive updates electronically via email. At present, we have email contact for just over half our members. We will never flood your inbox, and you can always unsubscribe at any time. Visit our website, https://yeu.ca and register for email updates on the home page. Seriously, we can’t grow our ability to communicate with you if you don’t subscribe!

If you’ve signed up for our emails help us out. You all know other Union members; encourage them to subscribe to the digital emails too. If each of you can encourage one friend or co-worker to subscribe, just imagine what we could do! Stay tuned for an announcement: we are planning an interesting little contest, soon to be unveiled.

As president, I hope to work with the new Executive to achieve a lot in the next three years, but I need your help. Please, become involved in your local – you don’t have to hold an elected position. Most Locals participate in community events or initiatives, and they have a budget that consists of a portion of your Union dues. Come out to your local meetings and have a say in how your dollars are spent. Is there an event or cause you want your Local to support? Say so, and then help to get others involved too.

Don’t think your collective agreement is fair? Want to see something different? Come to your bargaining input meetings, learn your collective agreements so you can put forth a proposal. Get elected to your bargaining team.

Consistent feedback over the last decade has been clear; members want education. We are about to begin the process of hiring a full-time education officer. We have commitment from both YFL and PSAC to work with us to provide more Local training.

We have always provided training, but we don’t always see a return on that investment. I hope our new training initiatives result in greater long-term involvement, and members using the training!

What kind of involvement? Well, you could become a shop steward or a training facilitator. Maybe you’re an amazing event planner, or you want to submit a column or article to our newsletter. You could write about labour issues, human rights, or areas you see the union needs to focus on. The point is there are many ways to engage with this vibrant organization, we’re saving a spot for you, in fact!

At the end of the day, I can’t make all of this happen without you. Neither can the YEU staff or the Executive. Together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. You are the Union and without your involvement we will not succeed.

Questions? Not sure how to do it? Not sure why you should? Call me and we’ll chat.

Steve Geick
867-336-2631
sgeick@yeu.ca

Bad Decisions at YG

cropped Steve in black & whiteAre Yukon Government’s Managers and Deputy Ministers intentionally making bad decisions? Maybe it’s a lack of understanding or an information vacuum that makes for face-palm results on critical cases? Either way it frustrates the hell out of me.  It’s YOU, the members we represent, who suffer from some very bad decisions at every level of the grievance process.

I attend many complex representation meetings including policy grievances, 3rd level grievances and arbitration hearings.  This isn’t standard for an elected official of YEU but  I want to observe the process. Poorly considered decisions result in grievances being referred to PSAC for arbitration, lengthening the process & leaving workers in limbo for years.

The cases that go this route include dismissals, lengthy suspensions, human rights complaints and issues of accommodation. The process can drag on, and the uncertainty impacts an individual’s physical and mental well-being & livelihood.

The cases don’t start out terribly complicated, so what happens?  To answer that, we need to look at the first step in a grievance process. This varies by employer but typically starts with an immediate supervisor.  Most of these individuals aren’t trained to solve complex human resource problems – they are intelligent and well-meaning people – but they’re set up for failure by their employer. They are not given the freedom or the tools they need to be successful.

We see good people promoted into supervisory positions because they know the work; they have the knowledge to perform the job but aren’t given labour relations training. It’s not just the supervisors who lack training either – the same is true for all levels of decision makers – Human Resource Advisors, Directors, CEOs and Deputy Ministers.

Accommodating a physical injury is straight forward – an injured worker is usually off work for a short period of time. Upon a return to work, limitations may include how much weight can be lifted or how long the worker may spend at a dedicated task.  Mental health issues, invisible disabilities or addictions also require accommodation, the requirement is entrenched in law.  This is where we encounter a minefield of miscommunication and a lack of understanding.

Supervisors need proper training to have difficult conversations with workers. Without the right skills, sensitive personal information that might inform a supervisor’s decisions can be misunderstood, inappropriately shared or lost in translation.
An attempt at resolution can quickly turn into a performance management issue & rather than achieving an accommodation, struggling workers are disciplined.

By the time someone figures out what needs to be done, all positions are firmly entrenched and the opportunity to problem solve is long past. Few directors, Deputy Ministers or CEOs are willing to rule against those below them; it reflects badly on the organization and frankly, most of the higher ups haven’t received the training needed to know better.

After a few agonizing rounds of bad decisions, a case may end up referred to arbitration, and the people with the knowledge to find a resolution get involved at last. That sounds like a good & positive thing, doesn’t it?  Sadly, very few settlements are actually awarded by an arbitrator’s decision.

Most employers offer to settle prior to the arbitration hearing, or during the proceedings. Why? If an arbitrator makes a decision in favour of the worker, it is precedent setting and becomes part of the public record. A settlement acts as a gag order – instead of public accountability, the matter disappears.

By the time a case reaches this point, the worker involved is often truly suffering either mentally or financially.  While it would be great to stand on principal and hold out for a favorable decision and a culture change, it’s rarely feasible or recommended. Enough is enough and peace of mind comes first.

YEU won’t recommend a member continue a struggle just to achieve a ruling.  Settlement offers are usually enticing enough and the grievor weary enough that they accept the settlement offer and try to rebuild their lives.  Of course, without a binding decision, the employer is free to continue the practices that initiated the grievance process in the first place.

It’s true that not every employee is a model worker.  Management has the right to manage and we respect that right when the employer operates in good faith.  The union is willing to have tough conversations when members seek representation; that’s part of our job and reflects our obligation to the membership at large.

Some supervisors tell us they feel inadequately trained in labour relations and human resources.  If the employer won’t fulfill their obligation, we’ll be glad to step up to help you get what you need.

Congratulations to employers who build strong teams through appropriate training and empowering policies. To the rest of you (and you know who you are) please put aside your pre-conceived notions, prejudices, superiority complexes and whatever else motivates you. Treat Yukoners – our members, with the dignity and respect they deserve.

YEU Needs Shop Stewards!

YEU needs Shop Stewards…workers like you who are willing to take some training and be available to help colleagues who need an ear, someone to accompany them to a meeting or to help find a solution to a problem at work.

Who can be a Steward?  Any member in good standing of Yukon Employees’ Union can be a Shop Steward in their Local.

What about training? YEU has created a new staff position dedicated to strengthening our Shop Steward team. New training initiatives will be announced over the next year; it’s a very good time to step forward as a Steward!

YEU currently offers monthly Shop Steward Round Table sessions held the 3rd Wednesday morning of each month. These informal presentations offer opportunities to ask questions and learn from others. The PSAC office in Whitehorse also offers regular training on things like union structure, roles, Local Officers training and more. There is online training available through PSAC’s Education program and workshops are offered by affiliate organizations throughout the year.

Rob-Jones-Y010-President-2016Yukon Government has an employer/union co-facilitated course on the Grievance Process – required training for all YG Stewards which can be accessed by all YG members through the Quarterly. No union leave is required for this training. For other training approved during your regular work hours, YEU reimburses your employer for your time; you will not lose pay to attend.

What will I be expected to do? Your co-workers will likely ask you questions about the contract, the union or their own work situations. Stewards are called by our Intake Officer at YEU to accompany members to fact finding meetings with their manager or supervisor. Your role at these meetings is usually as an observer, note taker and provider of moral support. In some cases and with appropriate training, you may be asked to participate more fully in discussions at meetings, but not until you have received coaching and feel prepared to do so.

Is it all volunteer work?  Most contracts have a clause that permits Shop Stewards to do union work while on the job. You submit a leave form citing the appropriate article from your collective agreement for the time you spend researching or representing a member. Your pay will not be disrupted. Representation work done outside your normal work hours is done on a voluntary basis and is not compensated.

My workplace already has a Steward. Stewards represent workers from their Local, not just from their specific workplace so don’t let that stop you. The more well-trained Stewards we have the better.Teresa-Acheson-Miscal-Avano-Nesgaard

If I make a mistake, will someone lose their job? No. You will have a network of support including our well trained & experienced Union Advisors. As a Shop Steward you will have regular conversations with our staff in order to ensure everyone is working in unison for members.

How do I become a Shop Steward? Each Local’s bylaws are worded differently. Some dictate that Stewards are elected at the Local’s AGM, others allow for nominations and elections at any time.

Your Chief Shop Steward or your Local President will guide you through the process. Once we’re advised by your Local that you’re a Shop Steward, you’ll be invited to our office to be sworn in by our President or Vice-President. You’ll get an orientation to our office, staff and procedures and receive your New Steward’s package. Once you’ve met everyone, you’ll be registered for upcoming training.

Will becoming a Steward make me a target for my employer? Shop Stewards who are well trained and level-headed help create workplaces that function smoothly. Employers recognize the benefit of a union liaison in the workplace and are usually very happy to work with them. It’s in everyone’s best interest to solve problems quickly and cleanly. It is very rare that our Stewards find themselves in conflict with their employer simply by virtue of stepping forward as a representative.

Will co-workers expect me to be an instant expert on our contract, labour law and all things union?
Your role is to ensure members have fair representation and that all pertinent information is recorded, provided to the Union Advisor and kept confidential. You’ll need to get to know your contract but we do not expect you to interpret the agreement or be up to date on all labour issues.Talk to a steward

A Steward needs to be compassionate and organized. The Steward’s role is one of problem solver and witness.

At some point in their careers about 50% of workers call their union. It might be a simple question about vacation leave, a scheduling issue or ongoing and persistent harassment from a co-worker or supervisor. To meet our members’ needs when they need support we need your help. Please call your Chief Shop Steward, Local President or the YEU Office today. Visit yeu.ca for contact info.

Remember; join us the 3rd Wednesday of each month for Shop Steward Round Table training sessions; informal workshops geared to skill building. We also invite you to an informal Sandwich Session at lunch the 1st Tuesday of each month. This is a training fee casual get together just to build our network and get to know each other. Call David Anderson at YEU, 667-2331 or email danderson@yeu.ca

Be part of PSAC’s Union Development Program!

UDP West-North 2015 UDP Group-1This is a guest post from YEU Director & Local Y010 President Tammi Sikorski.

Derek Yap and I were selected to participate in PSAC’s Union Development Program (UDP) 2015. We are part of the North/West class of 24 participants, joined by an amazing team of 4 facilitators including our own Barb Fayant who works in the Whitehorse PSAC Regional Office.

The first step of our six step, 9 month program was a facilitated phone call where we were introduced to the program and each other. We were given various reading and research assignments and were asked to survey our members in the hope of getting to know our locals better. What an eye opening experience that was! As President of Local Y010, the exercise of Getting to Know Your Local was great. It really drove home how much more work the local and the Union needs to do to educate and engage our members.

Step 2 took us to Winnipeg, MB for our cohort’s first face to face meeting. Over 4 days, we met with our facilitators and other participants, all staying in the same hotel. Thanks to our Facebook profile photos, introductions were quick and easy! Some of the participants already knew one another from other meetings, conventions and through our union involvement to date but I have to say the bonds formed quickly after our first day in class. I know these bonds are going to last a life-time; I know that from previous UDP participants and I can now say I know this from my own first-hand experience! The weekend flew by; long days of leadership development, networking and classroom work led (naturally) to socializing and working on those life-long bonds in the evenings. The weekend flew by; long days of leadership development, networking and classroom work led (naturally) to socializing and working on those life-long bonds in the evenings.

While in Winnipeg, the class decided to visit the newly constructed National Museum of Human Rights. We asked the facilitators to reconsider the agenda to include a trip to the Museum. Unions advocate for ALL human rights; it would have been a disappointment not to see the museum. The program facilitators arranged a 2 hour tour of this amazing and inspirational museum – if you’re ever in the ‘Peg – be sure to go! We joined a march to the VIA Rail station in downtown where we got to listen to Sister Robyn Benson, National President of PSAC speak to us from the back of a pick-up truck on the side of the street. We were 70 people strong walking the street in front of the building, waving flags and carrying signs, showing solidarity with other Unions.

It was an experience I am honoured to be part of.

Step 3 had us doing online research, online course content and watching a short documentary called “A Force more Powerful: South Africa Edition”. The story covers the struggles of South Africa’s 40 years under the apartheid system and how young activists helped bring about change through strategic, non-violent action. (https://vimeo.com/64419607)

We also started thinking about our Action Project to be completed along our UDP Journey. We covered strategic planning, campaign tactics and using the leadership skills we have learned throughout this course.

Step 4 brought us to Ottawa for a conference with 56 other activists in the PSAC UDP courses from Coast to Coast to Coast. Derek and I joined the English East and the Francophone classes.  While we were in Ottawa, we learned of 2 very important rallies taking place on Parliament Hill. Once again we changed our agenda to make the course our own, and those who chose to participate in the rallies were able to do so.

A UDP Action Project is worked on by all participants at the National level. Just before the rally was set to begin, we met to discuss what our project might look like. The room was full of ideas and suggestions on what form the action project for UDP 2015 should take and some great ideas were tossed around. While some members attended the rally protesting Bill C-51 with 100s of other people on Parliament Hill, others debated the action project.

For those of us who marched, the Rally was a powerful experience; invigorating and refreshing. When we returned, the National Project had been decided upon: Bringing Social Justice Home. I am VERY excited to be part of this. On our last day in Ottawa we chose to use the “Art of Protest” to educate and engage. We broke into smaller groups and used many forms of art to get our messages out. We explored flash mobs, story-telling, improvisational street theatre, life-sized puppets, poster making, and song writing. We all got to be creative and think outside the box, laugh and see the benefits of learning and engaging others with emotion.

The UDP is a different program this year than it in the past. We are the pilot group and it is a great experience to be a part of a new process and new traditions. My fellow participants are helping to shape the new UDP – and it is great!

If you believe you have it in you to be part of the new Union Movement in Canada I urge you to apply for the PSAC’s Union Development Program 2016 when the call goes out in September 2015… it is an ongoing series of life changing opportunities and experiences. Grab the chance!

Visit the PSAC site (follow this link), learn more and apply TODAY! Get the support of your Local’s Executive and the YEU leadership and help shape the union of tomorrow!

Tammi Sikorski

Web Links, Weirdness & Wild Times OR how to register for the YEU/PSAC Shop Steward Conference!

website mayhemHello friends. If you have been trying to register for our Shop Steward Training Conference March 10-11 and have been frustrated by bad links in the email or Facebook post PLEASE accept our apologies. At the end of January our website was transferred from one host to another… and that’s where the fun really began.

Our communications officer has been adding links, posting images and new contracts etc. to our website regularly however things have gone a bit sideways. Due to the transition from one host to another, there have been crossed wires and all sorts of wild and crazy fun. Most of that fun has involved vanishing links, missing posts and re-directs to the outer reaches of nowhere.  Our IT guy is hard at work getting our wires un-crossed and making sure the website is safely and securely housed in its new web home.

We hope to have our website angst solved by the end of this week. In the meantime we hope you will hang in there!

The YEU/PSAC Shop Steward Conference online registration link works just fine from pretty much any computer. It’s the agenda and the posters that have been swallowed up by the ether (unless you happen to be INSIDE the walls of YEU when opening the file… go figure).

So, please follow THESE links to see the information you can’t access through the yeu.ca site right now. We’ve uploaded them to this blog as it’s unaffected by the website host change “situation”.  Thanks for you patience! And remember… you don’t HAVE to be a Shop Steward to participate in this training. YEU members & PSAC National members who want to become more involved are welcome.

Conference Agenda and Course Descriptions

Conference Online Registration Form

We included links to some items for your Union Bulletin Boards in the most recent Steward update email, and those links were lost in the shuffle as well.

YEU Member Benefits 2015 Poster

Who is Your Steward Poster

YEU by the Numbers Poster

Shop Steward Round Table Reboot!

YEU toolboxYou raised your hand, you were elected…. now what? At YEU, our Shop Stewards & Local Executive members are very important. In fact, without a strong and well educated volunteer base we would have a hard time keeping up with our large and diverse membership.

Our staff and Executive are working hard to ensure we offer the right training modules to our volunteers and workplace advocates. In order for you to feel confident that you are representing the membership and union well, you need a strong basis in facts, a thorough understanding of your Collective Agreement and the mentorship of experienced union staff.

With those needs in mind, we are planning a half day brainstorm session for all our Stewards and elected workplace advocates. No matter whether you are the sole employee rep in a workplace of 6 or a seasoned Steward with 300 employees in your department – we need you. All stewards from all employers and workplaces are encouraged to attend this Shop Steward Round Table session.

SAVE the DATE! 
Thursday January 22, 2014
9:00 am ‘til Noon OR 2:00 pm ‘til 5:00 pm.

Both Round Table sessions are the same, so plan to attend only one. You will be required to bring in your approved leave form in order to attend. Please call Josh at 667-2331 or complete the form below to pre-register for either the morning or afternoon session.

We want to hear what you have to say; bring us your concerns and your Steward questions. Let us know what stands between you and full engagement as an employee rep. Our goal is to build up our Steward network, ensuring you get the training and support you need!

CLC Pacific Winter School 2015

logoCLC

 

 

 

Submit your application for CLC Pacific’s legendary Winter School union training today!  

YEU invites our activists to apply for Labour training offered by the Canadian Labour Congress at Harrison Hot Springs each year. We have created a short list of eligible courses which will be considered for our Yukon applicants.  Please note that the courses listed below are the only courses which the Education Committee will consider for approval.

Are you interested in attending training at Harrison?  Want to know who is eligible to participate?

  • Have you been active in your Local, your Union or your workplace as a union representative or activist?
  • Are you a member of your Local Executive?
  • Are you a member of a PSAC North Regional Committee?
  • Are you a YEU Shop Steward?
  • Are you a Confidential Advisor or Union Counsellor?

If you can answer yes to any of the above questions, you are eligible to apply.

We have some expectations of those who are sent to Winter School for training, as the cost of travel, tuition and loss of salary comes from member dues. Our responsibility to those members means we expect trainees to participate in union activities and help share what they have learned while away.  A letter outlining what you’ve learned and how you intend to put that learning into practice upon your return is a requirement of the process.

Deadline to apply is Thursday December 11, 2014

How to Apply:

DO NOT APPLY DIRECTLY TO CLC PACIFIC. WE DO NOT USE THEIR ONLINE REGISTRATION PROCESS! (this is VERY important! (If you apply directly using their online forms we will not be able to review your application for approval.)

Please complete

1. THIS YEU EDUCATION APPLICATION FORM linked here for printing 

and return it to YEU by Thursday December 11th with the

2. CLC WINTER SCHOOL PAPER APPLICATION FORM linked here for printing.

Return both to Yukon Employees’ Union by mail, by hand, by fax to 667-6521 or by email to contact@yeu.ca .

Schedule of courses  HERE  (Each course takes the full week; please select  your first and second choices.)

Week 1 ~ January 18 – 23
Week 2 ~ January 25 – 30
Week 3 ~ February 1 – 6
Week 4 ~ February 10 – 13 (Professional Development Week; runs Tuesday to Friday)
Week 5 ~ February 15 – 20

Eligible Courses:

Collective Bargaining Level 1: This course develops a solid understanding of the bargaining process and the factors that affect collective bargaining. The course provides opportunities to practice preparing for and negotiating parts of a collective agreement. The course covers a working knowledge of the laws and rules that structure the bargaining process. This course will be of interest to new bargaining committee members and local union officers. You may want to bring a calculator for this course.

Facing Management: This course offers an opportunity to learn new skills, tactics, and strategies for unions to use in joint labour-management committees. This is a perfect course for newer activists that want to learn more about union-management relations, traditional and modern management theories and systems, and the history of work organization. Communication skills, group dynamics training, and conflict resolution skills will be emphasized. The course offers hands-on practice sessions in skill-building techniques so that you will be as comfortable in the boardroom as you are at a union meeting.

Bullying and Harassment: Responsibility for bullying in the workplace is shared between workers, the employer, and the union.  This course will explore different approaches and tools to address bullying in the workplace, from education programs, legislation, workplace policies and procedure, grievances, and other means within the collective agreement language like labour management committees.  The course will also explore the relationship and differences between legislation covering bullying and harassment.  We will also look at what the rest of Canada is doing on the topic of bullying and pull examples and lessons from their experiences.  Finally, we will review the new BC Legislation put out by WorkSafe and the implications of this language for OHS Committees and WorkSafe WCB claims.

Parliamentary Procedure and Public Speaking: This is a two-part course. Parliamentary Procedure covers how to run a meeting effectively, the duties of a chairperson and secretary, and how rules of order can provide a democratic and fair process to get the business of the union accomplished. Public Speaking covers how to speak persuasively to various groups and how different formats are used to speak at convention, debates, and impromptu gatherings.

Return to Work: This course is designed to equip participants with tools and strategies for successful work reintegration outcomes.  Participants will explore leading research and learn the principles of good work reintegration practices and the duty to accommodate.  The course has a strong focus on the analysis and interpretation of human rights obligations and particularly the duty to accommodate.  Barriers to successful work reintegration are addressed with a focus on attitudinal barriers and their elimination using the social model of disability and therapeutic return to work principles.  An in-depth comparison, between older methods of disability management and the newer, progressive disability prevention model, is presented and participants learn about the paradigm shift from management to prevention.

Steward Training Level 1: The steward is often the main point of contact between the union, its members, management, and the larger labour movement. This course builds the skills, confidence, and knowledge a steward needs to represent their members. Participants will learn the roles and responsibilities of their position as stewards, the handling of grievances and complaints, problem-solving skills, protecting contractual provisions in the collective agreement, and current issues for stewards.

Steward Training Level 2: This course is for chief stewards, business and assistant business managers, local officers, and stewards with considerable experience handling grievances. You will practice more advanced grievance handling skills using real life case studies and role plays. Participants will discuss discipline grievances, harassment, drug and alcohol issues, and different styles of management. The course will deal with procedures before the process of arbitration. Knowledge of the first stages of the grievance process will be assumed. (Steward Training Level 1 is a pre-requisite)

Successful Meetings: Parliamentary Procedure: This course focuses on the nuts and bolts of how to run union meetings at the local level.  Not only will you learn the basics of Parliamentary Procedure but we’ll also discuss how to make committees and other small groups work more effectively.  We’ll also explore new meeting formats and how to use our time in meetings to get tasks done.

Transforming Conflict into Union Activism: Transforming Conflict into Union Activism approaches conflict in a novel way.  It recognizes that conflict isn’t always negative but that it is the outcome of the conflict that is negative or positive.  The course will teach participants how to listen to people involved in a conflict, get to the root causes of a conflict, and how to coach people involved in a conflict to identify shared interests.  Participants will learn how to use those shared interests to help people involved in a conflict find solutions and turn the conflict and shared interests into union activism.

Union Activism for a Green Economy: The labour movement wants a prosperous green future for ourselves, our members, and our families.  This new and innovative course examines how we can work together within the labour movement and with our social justice partners to advance economic and environmental initiatives that provide good, greener jobs in both the public and private sector.  We will develop strategies to work in coalition with environmental groups and examine new negotiating challenges being faced at the bargaining table around climate change and the developing green economy.

Using Modern Tools to Talk with your Members: Beginning with an internal union communications audit, this course will teach participants how to use a variety of communications tools in order to reach union members with the union’s message and culminate with a custom internal communications plan.  The course will take a look at websites, newsletter/bulletin design and writing skills, crafting effective emails, starting and managing email lists, and basic poster design.  Participants will also learn the basics of taking great photos and producing short, engaging videos to better communicate with their union members.

Women’s Health & Safety in the Workplace: All workers face health and safety issues at work – injuries, workplace hazards, disease, and stress. Many of these issues also have a gender dimension – they affect women’s bodies in particular ways. In this course, participants will discuss and learn abut how women’s health (including reproductive health) is affected by toxic workplace substances, the way work is often designed to fit men’s bodies, and workplace stresses such as violence and harassment. The program gives participants skills for assessing workplace hazards, and provides participants with key health and safety principles (hazard control, precautionary principles, right to refuse, right to know, and the right to participate). This program is geared to women who are health and safety committee members, and to all women who want to know more about how to make our workplaces and lives safer and healthier.

Women in Leadership: This course offers union women an opportunity to develop and enhance their leadership skills and knowledge in a variety of current and emerging labour issues. A major component of the course will cover communication and motivational skills that are important for women activists.

Young Workers in Action: This course is designed to give young union activists the skills they need to be effective in their workplace. The course will cover public speaking, how meetings are run, how to read your contract, grievance handling, and basic collective bargaining process. Participants are requested to bring a copy of their collective agreement.

Critical Incident Stress: Although we hope that incidents and accidents in the workplace never occur, quite often they do and the Union is challenged to help its’ members deal with the impacts and aftermath. This course develops an understanding of critical incident stress and how it can affect people. From there, the course helps unions develop a critical incident stress response system which can be implemented in the workplace. Participants will examine key elements of critical incident response systems, including a review of collective agreement language covering emergency responders and other workers. Finally, the course will look at what challenges exist within the health and WCB system which requires our advocacy action, to make change happen.

Candidate Development for Women: Are you a women who has been elected in your local union, provincial, or community organization? Are you looking to increase your support base and engage a wider audience? Have you run or considered running in a municipal, provincial, or federal campaign? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this course is for you!  This course is a next step for women leaders, designed to address the real challenges women candidates face and will introduce ways to balance the day to day challenges in the face of high stress campaigns. Bringing together leaders from various sectors, communities, and levels of government, participants will take away new ways of campaigning, strategic planning, and framing our message. By building on communication and presentation skills, participants will leave with tools to best communicate their message in on camera interviews, face to face debates, and with new media.

Campaigning in a Modern Era:  The evolution of campaign techniques is a continuous process.  From time to time it is imperative that we look at what has worked in the past and what has not.  This course will analyze the effectiveness of traditional campaign tactics.  Additionally, the course will look at new communication and organizing tactics implemented in Canada and other jurisdictions and offer an open discussion on how we can create modern, effective tools to help us win.

Contact YEU if you have any questions about your eligibility, the application process or any other query related to Winter School 2015.  Thank you!