District 6 Fall School Course Description

Arbitration: Prepare and Present

This intensive course, instructed by the USW National Office Legal Department, is designed to give participants the practical skills and knowledge required to prepare and present a case at an arbitration hearing.

Special emphasis is placed on collecting evidence, effective techniques in examination and cross-examination, developing opening statements and final arguments, as well as discussion of current trends and emerging issues in arbitrations.

Prerequisite: Participants must have completed Stewards in Action I, II & III

Note: Due to the intensity, high demand for this course and limited spots, participants will be required to submit additional information and only those members selected for the course will be confirmed to attend.

Co-investigations: Principles and Application for Joint Investigations

This course is ideal for union members who sit on joint committees related to human rights, and, workplace harassment, sexual harassment and violence. Joint committees are sometimes asked to co-investigate complaints. The course covers key topics such as effective collaboration with a co-investigator, ensuring neutrality in an investigation, understanding the co-investigation process, effective methods of interviewing parties to the complaint, collecting and analyzing evidence, writing investigation reports, and, ensuring the legitimacy of findings.

Unionism on Turtle Island

“Turtle Island” is an Indigenous name for North America. This course will deepen your understanding of our shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. We will look at the connections between Indigenous struggles and labour struggles, including USW’s experience with bargaining and representing Indigenous members. In an open, respectful forum, participants will be encouraged to ask questions about current issues, cultural practices, or other matters so that they will feel more knowledgeable about Canada’s peoples, history, and present-day reality. By the end of the course, you will be better equipped to be a good ally on Indigenous issues and to practice reconciliation inside our union and in your community.

Political Action

Most of our workplace issues have a political component. Our health and safety rules, how we bargain, whether employers can use scabs and most work-related issues are affected by the laws and regulations politicians and political parties adopt. Being political is necessary to union activism.

This course will expose you to an overview of the Canadian political system and introduce you to the basics of political campaigning. Examining union involvement both during and between elections, we will give a hands-on introduction to lobbying, mobilizing and communicating and detailed training in the components of election campaigns.

Prepare to learn the skills of communicating, strategizing, targeting and recruiting for political and issue campaigns as well as gain back-room insights into the political machine.

Prerequisite: None. This course is designed for both those politically active and those simply politically interested.

Bargaining in a Borderless World

Steelworkers are dealing day-in and day-out with the destructive consequences of globalization.
From forestry and mining, to manufacturing and telecommunications, our members are negotiating with massive multinationals for which Canadian workplaces are but a small part of their global operations. We’re often confronted by job losses due to unfair trade agreements, environmental degradation from reckless resource extraction and the weakening of laws and regulations intended to protect workers and communities.

Meanwhile, new workers arriving in Canada hoping to build a better life often face exploitation, such as widespread abuses of the wage-suppressing Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

This course will look at the tactics and tools used by employers and governments to spread and sustain this model of globalization, the response from unions in collective bargaining and politics, as well as alternatives for a model of development rooted in global justice.

Stewards in Action III: Grievances at Final Step and Beyond

This course builds research skills and knowledge, including online research, accessing and analyzing relevant arbitration decisions and applying legal principles to grievance files.

The course provides a framework for making sound decisions about advancing a grievance to arbitration or for choosing another path when the pre-arbitration stage is exhausted and a steward or grievance committee must decide “to go or not to go.”

The course also provides skills and knowledge to assess the merits of a case earlier in the process and, where possible, present stronger arguments to the employer in support of the union’s position.

Note: Participants should bring a laptop to class and should be prepared to do considerable research online. This course is best suited to stewards and grievance committee members.

Prerequisite: Participants must have completed Stewards in Action I & II