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  • Apply today to attend the 2017 Canadian Labour Congress Pacific Region Winter School
    Updated On: Dec 15, 2016

    DECEMBER 15, 2016 - APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED.

    Click here to download the 2017 CLC Pacific Region Winter School Sponsorship Application form.

    November, 2016 - Are you a union activist? Do you want to know what you can do to strengthen your union while learning more about the union advantage and Canada’s labour movement? Maybe you’re a Shop Steward and want to add to your arsenal of skills to face those difficult situations with management. If you’ve answered yes to these questions, or are simply interested in playing a bigger role in your union, you should consider applying for sponsorship to attend one of the week-long labour education classes being held at the 2017 CLC Pacific Region Winter School taking place in Harrison Hot Springs, BC.

    Local 258 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is pleased to offer a limited number of sponsorships to our members to attend Western Canada’s biggest labour school that features a variety of core programs, all taught by experienced labour activists in a unique learning environment with union members from other communities and industries.

    Members can download the application form today. Deadline for submission of your application is Friday, November 25, 2016, HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO TUESDAY DECEMBER 13TH, and successful applicants will be notified by the union after applications are reviewed by the Local 258 IBEW Executive Board. Please note there are a limited number of sponsorships available.

    Sponsorships include travel costs, payment of your wages for the week your class takes place, accommodation at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa where classes take place, meals and all fees associated with attending the class.

    Labour Education Programs Offered at the 2017 CLC Pacific Region Winter School include:

    Week 1 – taking place from Sunday, January 15 to Friday, January 20, 2017:

    Building Psychologically Healthy Workplaces

    Current research confirms that mental health issues are prevalent in B.C. workplaces. Workers who experience mental health issues face incredible challenges in the workplace. Many are misunderstood, stigmatized, and underutilized. From an organizational effectiveness and sustainability perspective, this is a significant business issue and one that requires attention. In a world where shortages of critical skills are, and will continue to be, a priority for many organizations, we cannot afford to allow the situation to continue.

    Workplace stress, bullying, harassment, and violence are increasingly the predominant issue for Canadians. Awareness of the staggering economic cost of workplace stress and related issues ($51 billion annually) grows steadily. Research also points to stress as a contributing factor in actual workplace accidents, injuries, and violence, making it a major factor in OH&S. 

    This course looks at all of the various workplace psychosocial factors and works on developing and implementing as effective plan that will improve the psychological health and safety of a workplace. The course examines strategies that eliminate, minimize, and accommodate psychological health issues.

    Collective Bargaining Level 1

    Participants will leave with a solid understanding of the bargaining process and the factors that affect collective bargaining. This course also introduces some of the laws and rules that structure the bargaining process and provides opportunities for hands-on practice and skills development in preparing for and negotiating parts of a collective agreement. Level 1 is aimed at new bargaining committee members and local union officers. You may want to bring a calculator for this course.

    Facing Management Effectively

    This course will look at economic, political, social forces at play between union and management. It will examine the roles and rights of each group and the different types of union/management relationships and styles. We will look at the power, bias, and privilege dynamics between union and management and how we can communicate effectively. We will focus on problem solving – understanding issues, developing strategies, finding and presenting facts and argument, finding areas of agreement, building solutions, implementing and maintaining solutions. Participants can expect lots of participation, interaction, and role-plays along with practical skills and tools for communication, analysis, strategy and critical thinking.

    Health & Safety Level 1

    This introductory Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) course will introduce new committee members and worker representatives to the basic principles of workplace health and safety. This also serves as a great ‘Back to Basics’ course for those OH&S committee members who desire refresher training. In this course, participants will learn the responsibilities and duties of the Joint OH&S Committee, OH&S legislation (provincial and federal), workers’ OH&S rights and the procedure for refusing unsafe work, how to conduct effective incident investigations and safety inspections, identify and assess ergonomic problems in the workplace, and ways of finding solutions.

    Labour Arbitration Level 1

    This course is designed to introduce participants to the practical skills required to prepare and present a case at an arbitration hearing. Special emphasis is placed on evidence, examination and cross-examination, the opening statement and final argument, and you will discuss current trends and cases dealing with the arbitration process. This course would be useful for grievance committee members or chairpersons, or union staff or officers who have not yet had extensive experience with the arbitration process.

    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 the 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.

    Labour Community Advocate Level 1

    Labour Community Advocates are trained to act as a resource to union members and to the local union itself. They have three roles:

    • To link workers facing workplace, personal or family challenges with resources in the community;
    • To identify community issues where the union can play a role through collective bargaining or social action; and
    • To support community activism among union members, unions and labour organizations.

    This program provides participants with information about the social issues faced by working people and the resources available in their community. Participants are trained in communication skills, interviewing and referral techniques so they can assist union members to find the appropriate resources. The program also allows participants to explore the ways in which unions and other labour bodies can help build resilient and respectful communities.

    Women in Leadership Level 1

    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 this course will cover communication and motivational skills that are important for women activists.

    Week 2 – taking place from Sunday, January 22 to Friday, January 27, 2017:

    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 B.C. Legislation put out by WorkSafe BC and the implications of this language for OH&S committees and WorkSafe BC claims.

    Prerequisite: Applicants must be a steward or member of their Joint Occupational Health and Safety (JOSH) Committee, Bargaining Committee, or Union-Management Committee.

    Collective Bargaining Level 1

    Participants will leave with a solid understanding of the bargaining process and the factors that affect collective bargaining. This course also introduces some of the laws and rules that structure the bargaining process and provides opportunities for hands-on practice and skills development in preparing for and negotiating parts of a collective agreement. Level 1 is aimed at new bargaining committee members and local union officers. You may want to bring a calculator for this course.

    Critical Incident Stress

    When incidents and accidents in the workplace occur, quite often the union is challenged to 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 Response Committee 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.

    Facing Management Effectively

    This course will look at economic, political, social forces at play between union and management. It will examine the roles and rights of each group and the different types of union/management relationships and styles. We will look at the power, bias, and privilege dynamics between union and management and how we can communicate effectively. We will focus on problem solving – understanding issues, developing strategies, finding and presenting facts and argument, finding areas of agreement, building solutions, implementing and maintaining solutions. Participants can expect lots of participation, interaction, and role-plays along with practical skills and tools for communication, analysis, strategy and critical thinking.

    Health & Safety Level 2

    The Health and Safety Level 2 course has been designed to empower participants to develop the tools, resources, and strategies necessary to build on successes and to tackle the tough OH&S issues at their workplaces. In this course, participants will discuss barriers facing joint OH&S committees and develop some creative strategies and solutions to deal with them. Participants will gain an understanding of the theory and practice of occupational hygiene monitoring and interpreting occupational hygiene reports. Learn about the requirements of a violence prevention program in OH&S legislation and the joint committee’s fundamental role in its development. Participants will also learn how to conduct proper risk assessments and how to increase committee effectiveness.  Prerequisite: Health and Safety Level 1

    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.

    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 whit 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.

    Workers’ Compensation Level 1

    This course provides a review of the Workers Compensation Act, how the Board functions, procedures for filing claims, WCB policies for adjudicating claims, and the appeals process. This is a basic course and will interest those union members just starting to handle WCB claims and appeals. This class will observe a hearing presentation to a panel of the Review Division.

    Workers’ Compensation Level 2

    This course is for union members wanting to improve their WCB advocacy skills. Participants will assist an injured sister or brother in a mock appeal where their injury has been denied by the WCB. The class will review how to seek a doctor’s opinion in support of the injured worker, how to question the worker at an appeal hearing, and how to present argument regarding occupational injury and disability. Participants are encouraged to discuss the specific types of work-related injuries and benefits that their members are having denied or not dealt with properly, and emphasis will be placed on how to apply one’s advocacy skills to those types of cases. At the end of the week, the class will participate in a mock hearing of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal.

    Week 3 – taking place from Sunday, January 29 to Friday, February 3, 2017:

    Arbitration: To Go or Not To Go?

    Participants will learn the law with respect to duty of fair representation obligations, as well as the standard arbitral legal tests in relation to discipline, contract interpretation, and evidence. There will also be a legal research component, which will focus on locating the law and conducting efficient legal research. Participants will present an overview of a grievance with recommendations on whether to proceed to arbitration.

    Taught by both counsel and arbitrators, this course will provide the legal knowledge required for unions to determine what the critical issues are in individual grievances and to make informed decisions regarding the progress of grievances. One of the most difficult issues facing unions is whether to advance grievances to arbitration. It can be a legal minefield.

    Participants should have some experience in the arbitral referral process. A basic arbitration course is recommended. This course does not focus on preparation or presentation of a labour arbitration case. Participants wanting arbitration skills should take a Labour Arbitration Level 1 or 2 course.

    Building Health & Safety Activism

    Union health and safety activists will share and learn the proven strategies to initiate and conduct a fully effective health and safety campaign in their workplaces and larger communities. Participants will learn how to use their OH&S committees to drive a safety agenda in their workplace. Setting up the proper messaging and communications infrastructure as well as gaining capacity and building allies both internal and external to the workplace will be discussed. Fostering worker participation and building momentum on these issues is some of the most important work that we do in the labour movement. Union health and safety activists will share and learn the proven strategies to initiate and conduct a fully effective health and safety campaign in their workplaces and larger communities. Participants will learn how to use their OH&S committees to drive a safety agenda in their workplace. Setting up the proper messaging and communications infrastructure as well as gaining capacity and building allies both internal and external to the workplace will be discussed. Fostering worker participation and building momentum on these issues is some of the most important work that we do in the labour movement.

    Facing Management Effectively

    This course will look at economic, political, social forces at play between union and management. It will examine the roles and rights of each group and the different types of union/management relationships and styles. We will look at the power, bias, and privilege dynamics between union and management and how we can communicate effectively. We will focus on problem solving – understanding issues, developing strategies, finding and presenting facts and argument, finding areas of agreement, building solutions, implementing and maintaining solutions. Participants can expect lots of participation, interaction, and role-plays along with practical skills and tools for communication, analysis, strategy and critical thinking.

    Federal Labour Law

    This course presents an overview of the federal labour legislation and its impact on the strategies and actions of unions. Among the topics to be explored are: certification and dispute settlement procedures; unfair labour practices; the duty to bargain in good faith; strikes, lockouts, and picketing; the duty of fair representation; management and union rights; and grievance arbitration law. Students will learn to do legal research using basic text books, annotated statutes and online research tools. Theory will be put into practice. Using case studies, students will learn how to prepare for grievance hearing or labour management meeting. Students who have access to a laptop are encouraged to bring it.

    Labour Arbitration Level 1

    This course is designed to introduce participants to the practical skills required to prepare and present a case at an arbitration hearing. Special emphasis is placed on evidence, examination and cross examination, the opening statement and final argument, and you will discuss current trends and cases dealing with the arbitration process. This course would be useful for grievance committee members or chairpersons, or union staff or officers who have not yet had extensive experience with the arbitration process.

    Labour Arbitration Level 2

    As a follow-up course to Labour Arbitration Level 1, this course has an emphasis on necessary verbal and procedural skills. It deals primarily with the conduct of the hearing for example, with the rules of evidence, examination-in-chief, and cross examination.

    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 the 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.

    Provincial Labour Law

    This course presents an overview of provincial labour legislation and its impact on the strategies and actions of unions. Among topics to be explored are: certification and dispute settlement procedures; unfair labour practices; the duty to bargain in good faith; strikes, lockouts, and picketing; the duty of fair representation; management and union rights; and grievance arbitration law.

    Students who take this course will attain a good understanding of the basic principles underlying Canadian labour law and the specifics of labour legislation in B.C.

    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 lean 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.

    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.

    Week 4 – taking place from Sunday, February 5 to Friday, February 10, 2017:

    Building Psychologically Healthy Workplaces

    Current research confirms that mental health issues are prevalent in B.C. workplaces. Workers who experience mental health issues face incredible challenges in the workplace. Many are misunderstood, stigmatized, and underutilized. From an organizational effectiveness and sustainability perspective, this is a significant business issue and one that requires attention. In a world where shortages of critical skills are, and will continue to be, a priority for many organizations, we cannot afford to allow the situation to continue.

    Workplace stress, bullying, harassment, and violence are increasingly the predominant issue for Canadians. Awareness of the staggering economic cost of workplace stress and related issues ($51 billion annually) grows steadily. Research also points to stress as a contributing factor in actual workplace accidents, injuries, and violence, making it a major factor in OH&S. 

    This course looks at all of the various workplace psychosocial factors and works on developing and implementing as effective plan that will improve the psychological health and safety of a workplace. The course examines strategies that eliminate, minimize, and accommodate psychological health issues.

    Collective Bargaining Level 1

    Participants will leave with a solid understanding of the bargaining process and the factors that affect collective bargaining. This course also introduces some of the laws and rules that structure the bargaining process and provides opportunities for hands-on practice and skills development in preparing for and negotiating parts of a collective agreement. Level 1 is aimed at new bargaining committee members and local union officers. You may want to bring a calculator for this course.

    Collective Bargaining Level 2

    Bring a copy of your collective agreement and a calculator as we work with different strategies and tactics for effectively facing today’s challenges at the bargaining table. How do we deal with workplace change – restructuring, automation, or new technology? What language best protects workers against unfairness in drug and alcohol testing or electronic monitoring? How do we prepare our membership and the union to deal with concession demands in pension and health benefits? This is a course for students who have taken Collective Bargaining Level1 and have some experience on a bargaining committee.

    Facing Management Effectively

    This course will look at economic, political, social forces at play between union and management. It will examine the roles and rights of each group and the different types of union/management relationships and styles. We will look at the power, bias, and privilege dynamics between union and management and how we can communicate effectively. We will focus on problem solving – understanding issues, developing strategies, finding and presenting facts and argument, finding areas of agreement, building solutions, implementing and maintaining solutions. Participants can expect lots of participation, interaction, and role-plays along with practical skills and tools for communication, analysis, strategy and critical thinking.

    Health & Safety Level 1

    This introductory Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) course will introduce new committee members and worker representatives to the basic principles of workplace health and safety. This also serves as a great ‘Back to Basics’ course for those OH&S committee members who desire refresher training. In this course, participants will learn the responsibilities and duties of the Joint OH&S Committee, OH&S legislation (provincial and federal), workers’ OH&S rights and the procedure for refusing unsafe work, how to conduct effective incident investigations and safety inspections, identify and assess ergonomic problems in the workplace, and ways of finding solutions.

    Member Engagement – Member Action

    This course is designed for experienced shop stewards, local union leaders and union staff who want to transform how members engage with their union and how their union engages with members.

    This course will train participants on the three-step approach to effective member engagement (Go, Listen, Build) and connect it to a three-step approach for building an active membership (one-on-one communication, taking action on worksite issues, and designing a strategy and plan to win).

    This training is particularly helpful for unions with upcoming contract negotiations, a backlog of unresolved grievances, a particularly disengaged membership, or a diverse membership that is not reflected in local leadership.

    Each participant will leave the training with a worksite specific plan for creating an engaged and active membership as well as a series of measurable goals to evaluate outcomes.

    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. This course will deal with procedures before the process of arbitration.

    Knowledge of the first stages of the grievance process will be assumed.  Prerequisite: Steward Training Level 1 or equivalent union course.

    Unions in the Community

    The labour movement has always played a strong role in the social change movement. This course will teach participants how to work with community partners and to organize around, and participate in community social service issues.

    Participants will develop skills on working with coalitions, developing community campaigns and creating networks of labour and community activists.

    The tools provided will help strengthen labour’s community presence and develop new 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 the basic collective bargaining process.

    Participants are requested to bring a copy of their collective agreement.

    Week 5 – taking place from Tuesday, February 14 to Friday, February 17, 2017 (shorter week due to Family Day holiday):

    BC Federation of Labour Organizing Institute

    This course is designed to be an intensive and demanding training session that attempts to simulate the condition participants are likely to meet in their organizing work. Evening sessions are part of the core curriculum and participants will be expected to work as a group throughout the course, both inside and outside the classroom. This course is designed for people who will be participating in organizing campaigns in the near future, and participation is encouraged from, but not limited to, people who represent the diversity of workforces,  i.e. - young workers, visible members, Aboriginal workers, LGBT workers, etc.

    Benefits Bargaining

    This course will help you understand how health and welfare benefits are structured and how to prepare for benefits bargaining. The course will include information on new and renewed benefit plans and how to handle a change in benefits carriers. Topics for discussion will include: costing of benefits, employers' response to increasing costs and changes in coverages, funding methods including trusts, laws pertaining to benefits coverage, privacy issues, collective agreement language ideas, types of benefit plans to avoid and why.

    Candidate Development for Women

    Are you a woman 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 day to day challenges in the face of high stress campaigns. Participants will take away new ways of campaigning, strategic planning, and framing our message. By building on communications and presentation skills, participants will leave with the tools to best communicate their message in on camera interviews, face to face debates, and with new media.

    Labour and Climate Change: Taking Action Now!

    As a society we need to take collective action to lower greenhouse gas emissions enough to hold back further catastrophic damages from climate change. Both the provincial and federal governments are in the process of setting in motion their climate action plans. It is critical that the labour movement is at the centre of the discussion and development of BC and Canada's response to climate change.

    This course will: -- Provide an overview of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change - what did countries around the world agree to do to lower greenhouse gas emissions? -- Examine and critique the provincial and federal climate action plans and discuss how labour can insert itself in the development and implementation of the plans. -- Discuss how existing workplaces and jobs can be "greened" and help shift us to a low carbon economy. -- Discus Just Transition principles - what programs and resources do workplaces, workers and communities need to move towards a low carbon economy? -- Examine what unions are doing to address climate change and discuss how we can take part in the action.

    Canadian Health & Safety Roundtable

    The Canadian Labour Congress and the BC FED and Health and Safety Centre are co-hosting a pan-Canadian roundtable for occupational health and safety and compensation education centres. This roundtable will provide a forum for curriculum exchange, best practices, networking and advancing workers health and safety education interests. It is intended for those active in existing or developing worker-focused and worker-driven health and safety and compensation education centres. It would also be of interest to health and safety educators from affiliate unions.

    Pension Administration for New Trustees

    This course provides an introduction for new pension trustees, pension advisory committee members, and union representatives responsible for pension issues. From a union perspective, the course will provide an overview of the following: The federal and B.C Regulatory framework for public and private-sector pensions. The basics of pension plan design and funding. Plan governance, including the roles and duties of trustees. The essentials of pension fund investment, and Current issues and challenges facing pension plans in Canada. With the guidance of pension experts and using participants' own pension plans as examples, course participants will develop an understanding of key pension terms and concepts, the fundamentals of plan funding, what to look for in a an actuarial valuation report, and techniques for improving your effectiveness as a trustee or advisory committee member.

    Women’s Health & Safety in the Workplace

    All workers face health and safety issues at work – injuries and occupational disease, workplace hazards, and stress. Many of these issues have a gender dimension – they affect women’s bodies in particular ways. In this course, participants will discuss and learn how women’s health (including reproductive health) is affected by toxic workplace substances, by work and tools that are often designed to fit men’s bodies, and by workplace stresses such as violence and harassment. The course will provide the opportunity for you to discuss how the traditional gender-neutral approach to health and safety differs from the relatively new principle of the gender-sensitive approach. You can look forward to improving your skills in assessing workplace hazards and recommending appropriate corrective action. You will also learn about key health and safety principles such as: the precautionary principle, worker health and safety rights and strategies to improve committee effectiveness.  This course is intended for women who are health and safety committee members, and for women who want to take a more active role in health and safety at their workplace.

    This course meets the criteria for the eight-hour annual educational leave that OH&S committee members and worker representatives are entitled to under the Workers Compensation Act.


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