PSAC BC Union School - March 23 – 25, 2012

Our Strength: Mobilizing and Fighting Back

What is the Union School?

Union Education at its best! Union School is open to all members - it provides you with a unique opportunity to gain more specialized knowledge and skills while networking with other members from across the BC Region so that you can return to your workplaces and locals energized and ready to empower other members!

How to apply

In our continuing efforts to go green, we encourage all members to apply on-line here. If you require a hard copy you can mail or fax back, please email us. Apply early as seats fill up fast! The application deadline is February 24th, 2012.

The theme of this year’s union school is “Our Strength: Mobilizing and Fighting Back!” Our goal is to provide participants with opportunities to observe, hear, learn, practice and take back strategies and skills to mobilize and motivate members and communities to fight back against federal government cuts and privatization. This may be in your workplaces or neighbourhoods, in familiar ways using traditional techniques or in new or non-traditional ways.

This theme builds on and supports the campaigns currently underway within the PSAC and its components as well as the broader labour movement to fight back against the cuts and changes to the public service, the social safety net and workers’ rights in Canada.

School schedule

The school takes place from Friday, March 23rd – Sunday, March 25th at the Renaissance Hotel, 1133 West Hastings Street, Vancouver. A detailed agenda with start and finish times will be sent to all participants who are accepted.

The theme: “Our Strength: Mobilizing and Fighting Back!”

While this is an increasingly challenging time for all of us, it is also a unique opportunity to find new ways to mobilize and fight back. The school will use plenary sessions and workshops with guest speakers, panelists, music, the arts, non-traditional political action and social media to challenge, motivate, mobilize and empower PSAC members.  What better way to spend a weekend than with 80 plus of your newest closest friends, fellow activists and union sisters and brothers?

Union School format

The format for this year’s school is a combination of plenary sessions and workshops. There will be five workshops offered (each workshop will be held at least twice and most will be take place three times).  Participants will attend three different workshops over the course of the school. Workshop selection will take place during the Union School itself.

What workshops are being offered?

Costs and expenses

There is no cost to PSAC members. Participants residing 60 km or more outside the school location will be in authorized travel status - transportation, accommodation, meals and incidentals will be paid in accordance with PSAC policy. Participants residing less than 60 km from the school location will be provided with the per diem in accordance with the PSAC Education policy. To improve access to training for members with family care responsibilities, the PSAC has a family care allowance policy. Contact your Regional Office for more information.

Workshop descriptions

Labour Mobilizing Through the Years … Where We’ve Come From - Are you curious about the early days of the union movement in Canada? Do you want to learn from our history? Do you think history is dry, boring, dusty, old stuff? Think again! Mainstream history is written by the people who won all the fights but Labour history is full of interesting and colourful characters. We also have all the good songs!

Mobilizing our Members - Are you a Steward, Local President or Executive member? Do you want your own involvement within the Union to be more than filing grievances, as important as that work is? Are you finding it hard to get your members involved within the workplace? Then this workshop will be of assistance to you. The focus of this workshop will be on the other work that we can do within the local to encourage members to stand up to the employer, to protect our work and to support each other. Learn strategies that have worked for others and gain ideas and enthusiasm to go back to the workplace and continue your own fight against cuts and privatization.

Lobbying Skills - We need to inform politicians about the consequences of cutting federal public services and win their support in the fight to stop the cuts and save and enhance public services. We want to leave MPs thinking hard about what cuts could mean for their constituencies and how could this impact the local economy. Are you interested in learning how to lobby an MP or MLA? This is the workshop for you.

Mobilizing with Social Media - Have you heard about PSAC's Third Choice Campaign? Do you want know more about these types of online campaigns and actions? Do you want to know more about using social media to promote our cause? This workshop will help answer those questions for you.

Mobilizing in our Communities - Do you have neighbours? Do you belong to a religious or community organization? Are you a member of a choir or a sports team? Come and learn how to talk to the people we meet in our everyday lives - in all our various communities - about the value of the work we do, the value of unions, the value of our social safety net, and the value of the things we all take for granted that are slowly being eroded or outright taken away.