Union Education during and after COVID-19
Many things have changed since the pandemic onset, including union education. It will need to be delivered differently to comply with the “new normal” in which it will be difficult, if not impossible, for 20 or more people to meet in the same room for several hours.
As you know, PSAC has postponed all its activities involving gatherings. This includes conferences and conventions, which have been pushed back several months. It also includes face-to-face union education courses, which have been cancelled until January 2021.
Of course, this timeline may change if the public health organizations change their recommendations, but it’s more likely that our union education courses from June to December 2020 will need some reinventing. Our regional and national education officers are looking at new approaches.
We’re working to set up distance education courses on edX, our new online platform. We had originally planned to release these courses in September, but we’re now working hard to post two or three courses online in the coming weeks.
A number of regions have offered webinars on workers’ rights, mental health and the post-pandemic return to work. Others will be available in the coming days and weeks. We’re also developing more targeted training projects that will use online resources such as webinars, distance education and videoconferences.
We plan to provide both new and experienced members with ways to begin or continue their union education at a time when getting back to the boardroom is a long way off. Union education is striving to reinvent itself, trying new approaches without losing sight of its objective to improve membership services.
The overall purpose of the PSAC Education Program is to build the capacity among members to reflect and act, to shift the balance of power towards justice in the workplace and society.
The Education Committee plays an active role in developing the PSAC-NCR Education Program and the triennial education plan. The Committee discusses union education needs, determines how the regional should best respond to these needs and finds ways of engaging members through union education.
Interested in helping to do this important work? Join us! Send an email to the Education Committee.
Union education in the National Capital Region is spread on three semesters: winter (January to April), spring (May and June) and fall (September to December).
Our core program includes: Talking Union Basics (TUB), Grievance Handling, Local Officers, Health and Safety, and Human Rights related education.
For further informaton, see menu items above or on the right-hand column.
How to register?
To register, click on this link (or click the "course listing" button above) and select the course you want to attend. For each course, you will find a link to register online.
Should you have difficulties registering online, contact the PSAC Regional Office in Ottawa or Gatineau.
Why union education?
- To engage with other members. Whether you want to become an activist or you want to find out more about your union, you will find a place where you can engage with others who have similar values, form networks and be inspired to participate in collective action .
- To equip yourself to represent others. You have a right to practical tools. Members need the knowledge, skills and attitudes that can make them effective and strategic in their interventions in the workplace, the labour movement and the broader society. Members (active or not) also need to be equipped with the basics about how their union operates, so they can participate easily and effectively.
- To expand your union experience. Your union is a window into the world of social justice. A necessary part of education is to move all members beyond their comfort zones, current range of interests and networks. The willingness to be “stretched” is a key to real transformation.
- To energize yourself or help energize others. Members can get discouraged. Given the state of the world, the slowness of change both inside and outside the union, and the weight of arbitrary employer actions, the education program should be a place of renewal and encouragement.
If you want to know more about our program, read the 2019-2021 NCR Education Plan.