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Power in education

By Rae Carlson, Communications Staff

Jan 29, 2024

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Workplace Power and Picket Captain Training are two new courses available for AUPE members. Register today!

AUPE members know that 2024 is going to be a big year for our union. Over 82,000 members are set to begin collective bargaining with their employers, including the largest individual groups of members, such as those working for the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services. There is a lot on the line and a lot to prepare for. 

One way you can prepare yourself for bargaining is to enroll in AUPE’s free education courses. 

“Offering engaging, relevant courses is one of the most important things we do for members,” says Curtis Jackson, one of AUPE’s newly elected Vice-Presidents. “Most school curriculums don’t teach us much about unions, collective agreements, strikes, or our rights at work. AUPE’s courses are here to share that knowledge and help us grow as union members.” 

Several courses are offered in-person and online, allowing you to work through the course material at a pace that best fits your schedule. The latest course schedule is always posted on the Courses page on AUPE’s website. 

“Every one of us starts somewhere. What matters is how far you’re willing to go and the effort you’re willing to put in to be an active force in your union."

Curtis Jackson, Vice-President

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Two courses are especially important as AUPE members enter collective bargaining: Workplace Power and Picket Captain Training. 

Workplace Power is all about you and your colleagues. This two-day course shows you how to organize with your coworkers to solve issues at your workplace, which almost always means using your collective power to pressure management into action. All the skills you learn in this course are also useful when organizing to support your negotiating team at the bargaining table. 

Picket Captain Training is more directly tied to bargaining. Whether it’s a lockout or a strike- a picket line is a powerful tool AUPE members can use when our employers refuse to give us a fair deal at the bargaining table. Any successful picket line needs good picket captains, and that’s exactly what this course will make you if you sign up. 

“I encourage all members to take these great courses to prepare for bargaining,” says Jackson. “The more picket captains we have, the better, and the transferable skills you learn in Workplace Power will help you organize your coworkers if you ever do need to set up a picket line.” 

AUPE’s focus in 2024 is on bargaining, but as always, there are several additional courses available for members to take. Courses offered for the Winter/Spring 2024 schedule include: Introduction to Your Union; Introduction to Occupational Health and Safety; Rethinking Politics; Foundations for Union Stewards; Contract Interpretation; Democracy at Work, and many more. 

It is never too late to learn more about your union, AUPE. Each course is designed to help you take your knowledge, confidence, and activism to the next level. 

“Every one of us starts somewhere,” says Jackson. “What matters is how far you’re willing to go and the effort you’re willing to put in to be an active force in your union.” 

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