Author Donna Murray – Shop Steward (Area Rep) Course

First I would truly like to thank our local CUPE 1767 for allowing me the chance to participate in this week long education session. I truly appreciate it. With this opportunity, I learned exactly what to expect from my union, what the processes were and who to contact for support. The instructors also reminded me of my voice and my responsibilities to the union and my office. Thanks again!

The workshop I signed up for was "Introduction to Stewarding"

This workshop is geared towards new union reps and outlines the hierarchy of the CUPE Union, putting members first.

We participated in exercises on building trust with other members, how to get the facts and what a grievance was and how to write a formal grievance.

I learned there were three types of grievances…member grievance, group grievance and policy grievance (which does not require any member to grieve .. this is typically used when a member is too afraid to grieve but that the union - i.e. executive - is aware of management asking other members to do something outside of the contract .. i.e. work outside of a member or members job description.

Our instructors were colourful and had many tales to tell about their experiences.

We were also given instruction on how to conduct a meeting when a member is being called into a manager's office…for example…first we are equal to management when we are acting as a union rep…we have the right to ask what the meeting is in reference to and if the manager will not say…we have the right to call an end to the meeting until such time he is willing to do so…managers cannot go on a fishing expedition…once we know what the meeting is about…we were given instruction on how to advise our members and conduct the meeting with the manager.

We were also given instruction on how to write "good" notes in the meeting. This is to include the conversation and the actions of the manager… i.e. waving his or her hands…intimidation…and when to call a break on the meeting to take time to advise the member.

Our group also completed two extra modules on "Challenging Homophobia in the Workplace" and "Mobilizing Members"

On another note…for those of you that know me. I did push my boundaries and introduced my neighbour. I was vocal and participated in all group discussions…even if my point of view was not the popular point of view …and…it was my concept that won the poster contest for our group.

All in all a good week

From your sister

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