AR/CR Summer Core Training

Posted on August 2, 2011

It’s often said that there are two powers in a union: First, the union contract, a legally binding document that represents our rights at work.  The union contract is the product of union members bargaining with their employer over the issues that matter most.  A union contract presents a stark contrast to non-union workplace where workers don’t have a voice in setting employment rules, and if they object to unfair policies, may be shown the door.  The second power in a union is organizing.  Organizing happens when people come together to collectively solve their own problem with a solution of their own design, and often includes putting pressure on decision-makers.  The power of organizing shouldn’t be underestimated because it can be used not only to enforce rights that workers already have, but to expand or establish new rights at work.

The most effective union activists know how to draw on both powers of the union – the union contract and organizing people.  SDEA is proud to launch its training program for 2011-12 Association Representatives (ARs) and Council Representatives (CRs), which will address both.  In Core Training, Part I: Advocacy, ARs/CRs will build familiarity with the union contract and enforcing it with the grievance process.  In Part II: Organizing, ARs/CRs will explore organizing as a strategy to support grievances, but also as a means to win on issues that are outside of the contract.

Core Training, Part I: Advocacy

Our rights at work are like a muscle; they grow stronger when we exercise them.  Union members sometimes exercise their rights through the grievance process, but what’s a grievance?  How does one know if the issue is a “good grievance”?  What are the steps in the grievance process?  What is the role of an AR/CR in a grievance meeting?  This workshop will cover these advocacy basics, the role of an AR/CR at work, and beyond.  Choose one of three dates:

·       August 22, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
·       August 24, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
·       August 25, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Core Training, Part II: Organizing

As participants will learn in Core Training, Part I: Advocacy, the grievance process has shortcomings; it can be long and drawn out, and sometimes unfair practices (examples include respect and dignity, or scheduling issues) aren’t covered by the grievance process at all.  Organizing can secure speedier grievance victories, better solutions to workplace problems, and expand rights at work beyond the contract. This workshop will focus on how to creatively win at work by organizing – sometimes even without filing a grievance.  Choose one of three dates:

·       August 27, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
·       August 29, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
·       August 30, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Also, new ARs and CRs are invited to attend the New AR/CR Orientation in addition to the Core Trainings above. Click here for more information.

All ARs and CRs are strongly encouraged to attend Core Training, Part I: Advocacy and Core Training, Part II: Organizing.  Other union activists at your site – such as “Site Organizers” – may attend as well.  Please contact site organizers to share this training opportunity with them. New ARs and CRs may also wish to attend the New AR/CR Orientation, which was a big hit with new ARs/CRs in 2010.

To register for trainings, please call the SDEA office or email Organizer Morgan Thornberry at  In order to keep “class size” low, spaces are limited, so RSVP now!  RSVP deadline is August 16!

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