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.



As communications and social media technology continues to evolve, it is important to be up to date with the current tools our members are using. In order to do that, we must understand the basics.

This course will focus on a number of communications fundamentals, including developing a message, public speaking, communicating with members, dealing with the media and moving union campaigns forward by getting our message out. This course will also cover new media and how to better engage our membership.

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

USW Women's Committees: Leading Together

Trying to get a new women’s committee off the ground? Or looking for ways to fire up an existing committee? This course will look at characteristics of an effective committee and ways to ensure the committee’s work connects with the needs of women throughout the local. We’ll draft budgets and motions, practice holding kitchen-table conversations, and create a strategic plan. Get an in-depth look at how locals can engage in critical work on violence against women, pay equity, and affordable childcare.


Promoting Mental Health in the Workplace and in the Union

This course examines mental health as a crucial issue both in our workplaces, and, in our roles as members and activists in the union. At the end of the course, participants will be able to: 

This workshop is important to all members concerned about mental health, and, particularly activists who serve on joint health and safety committees and human rights committees.