PSAC Basic Course Descriptions

Here is list of of all upcoming courses.

Here is a list of basic courses offered by the PSAC BC Regional Education Program. These one or two day courses are usually offered on weekends within the catchment areas. The courses are divided into 2 categories: those that we offer frequently as a core part of the regional education program and those that we offer in addition to the core courses based on demand and interest from members.

Frequently-offered Core Basic Courses:

Talking Union Basics (TUB) (2 days) or Virtual TUB (3 days)

This is the union’s key “introductory” course. If you have wondered what it means to be a union member, how the PSAC works, and what happens to your dues dollars, then Talking Union Basics provides answers to these questions. The course also introduces the collective agreement, your employee rights and your rights as a member of the PSAC. You will learn about the many opportunities to be active in the union and ways you can make a contribution to building strong locals in the B.C. region. It is recommended that members take Talking Union Basics first, as it provides the basic knowledge you need to get the most from other PSAC courses.

Grievance Handling (GH) (2 days) or Virtual GH (3 days)

This training is a must for stewards and other workplace representatives, or members who want to use the acquired knowledge and skills to solve problems in the workplace. You will find out what the law says about grievances, grievors and their representatives, and the protections built in for those who choose to use the grievance procedure to solve problems. You will develop grievance-handling and problem-solving skills through “hands-on” exercises on gathering facts, analyzing a problem, drafting grievance wording, building a complete file, framing the arguments and presenting the case to the employer. You will work on case studies based on actual grievances and, in the process, improve your knowledge of case law. Normally this is a 2-day course.

Introduction for Local Officers Training (ILOT) (1 day & 2 days) or Virtual ILOT (3 days)

This is an introductory course for new Local Officers who need to know how to run a Local. Sessions cover the role of the Local Executive; Local administration, including by-laws and budgets; effective communications and Local meetings; and how the Local can access the wider resources of the PSAC. A major theme throughout the course is the organizing model of unionism and how to put it into practice so as to build a strong union presence at the workplace.

Other Basic Courses:

ABCs of UMCs (Union Management Consultations) (1 day)

Do you often wonder how to make your Union Management Consultations more effective and help you deal with issues at the workplace? If so, this is the course for you! Together we will examine the legal framework, protocol and practice of union/management consultation. We will also explore the appropriate use of interest based workplace negotiations as well as introduce some hands-on techniques. And last but definitely not least, when formal and informal union/management consultation fails we can always rely on the power of the collective to make our voices heard. Learn how to organize and carry out strategic and effective workplace actions and campaigns.

Bargaining from Strength (2 days)

“The difference between bargaining and begging is the power to effect change.”

Want to get more information about the Collective Bargaining process and how it affects you? Wondering how it all works and how you can get more involved? Ever pondered the connections between bargaining and the larger political context?

Understanding and being involved with the Collective Bargaining Process is essential for all union activists.

This 2-day course will provide an overview of the Collective Bargaining process and how it connects to broader global, economic and political context and more specifically to the union’s work on Political Action.

Together we will discuss the importance of collective bargaining and how it fits within the larger social and political context. We will look at the steps involved in the bargaining process, the roles and responsibilities and how agreements are ratified. We’ll explore ways in which we can be more involved in the various stages of the negotiations process. We will also identify the importance of being involved in Political Action as part of our bargaining strategy and learn specific skills such as lobbying and communications to help us be more effective in putting forward our priorities in the broader political arena.

Resolutions 101 (1 day) – virtual or in person

Do you want to write an effective resolution for submission to a conference or convention? This course sets out the “rules” around resolutions and will strengthen your ability to write effective resolutions.

By the end of this course, participants will:

  • Have considered multiple ways to make change at PSAC
  • Be familiar with the process for submitting resolutions
  • Understand the criteria of an effective resolution
  • Have practiced drafting resolutions and identified information needed to support a resolution
  • Have shared strategies for obtaining support for resolutions in the lead-up to events

Convention Procedures (1 or 2 days)

By the end of the course, participants will understand the purpose of conventions, become familiar with convention procedures such as voting, elections, reports and become more skilled at using Rules of Order. We will examine the roles of convention committees, committee chairpersons, convention chairpersons, and gain some understanding of the dynamics of conventions.

Creating Respectful Workplaces (CRW) (2 days)

This fast paced and interactive course will take you through the basic steps of creating and maintaining respectful work environments. Together we will identify the signs of an unhealthy workplace, look at underlying factors, gain an understanding of different forms of harassment and identify concrete solutions for creating healthier working relationships. We will examine what is meant by diversity and what measures can be used to make our workplaces more inclusive. We will also discuss strategies for increasing participation and our effectiveness on joint employment equity committees. With regard to harassment and bullying, we will look at the legal framework, policies and recourse routes. We conclude with a section on how to prevent harassment in the workplace bringing the course full circle.

Health and Safety Activism (1 day or 2 days)

A safe and healthy work place is a basic worker right. This course will re-empower members to ensure we have secure work places. Participants will start with their own knowledge of their work, and work places, and will critically examine the risks and responsibilities of workers and employers, including the notion of ‘worker carelessness’. Participants will develop action plans to mobilize members and to ensure the employer provides the necessary tools, training and funding to support a healthy and safe work place.

Health and Safety – Canada Labour Code Pt II (CLC II) (2 days)

This course, designed for Local health and safety activists, will provide participants with hands-on application of The Canada Labour Code Part II. Participants will practice interpretation and analysis of various parts of the act as they pertain to the workplace. There is a strong focus on key amendments to the act and how these changes should be applied and monitored. Learning activities cover such things as; changes to the Canada Labour Code Part II; duties and responsibilities of the parties; committee roles; and mobilization around occupational health and safety.

Introduction to Duty to Accommodate (DTA) (1 day)

This training is a must for Local Officers and other workplace representatives. You will learn what the law says about the Duty to Accommodate and how this law is applied in the workplace. These rights and our ability to enforce these rights have serious ramifications for the members, the union, and the employer.

Politics for Everyone (2 days) in person and virtual

Did you ever wonder why Unions are involved in politics? Did you ever hear people say that you should be involved in politics? Did you ever wonder if politics is really as important as many people says it is?

Politics for Everyone is a great course for you!

We are affected by decisions of many levels of government as workers, voters and consumers. Politics for Everyone provides an opportunity to think about all those issues and for you to think seriously about the kind of government we want and the kind of society we want to build together.

Public Speaking for Trade Unionists (1 day)

One of the biggest fears people have is speaking in public. As trade union activists you will have many opportunities to do so, especially as we approach our conventions. Learn how to do it effectively and with the minimum amount of anxiety. The course will provide you with some hints to help you overcome your fears and assist you to learn how to speak in public effectively.

Lobbying for the Union – (3 – 3.5 hours) in person and virtual

This is a workshop designed for members who may be participating in PSAC lobbying activities. After participating in this training, participants will be able to:

  1. Explain that lobbying elected representatives is a way to exercise our democratic power as union members and constituents
  2. Explain that the goal of lobbying is to persuade elected representatives to take action that will benefit working people
  3. Describe the essential elements of a successful lobbying meeting, including a clear ask and a compelling personal story
  4. Summarize the steps needed to successfully plan and execute lobbying
  5. Use various strategies to respond to situations that may arise during the lobbying meeting

Steward Series – Tier 1 and Tier 2 (1 or 2 days)

Are you interested in helping out in the local and possibly being a Steward? Are you curious about what Stewards do other than filing grievances? Are you already a Steward and want some or some more training? Then these are the courses for you! The Stewards Series Tier 1 and Tier 2 provides training and information on aspects of the work that Local Stewards do and contribute to helping a Local Executive and Local members. Both Tiers have a series of 3-hour workshops that may be offered in different combinations. The courses offered and length of time for the courses may vary depending on the facilitator.

Steward Series Tier 1 Modules:

  • Why Unions?
  • Human Rights in the Workplace
  • Role of the Steward
  • Stewards as Problem Solvers

Steward Series Tier 2 Modules:

  • Some Things a Steward Should Know About the Duty to Accommodate
  • Employment Equity in the Workplace
  • Economics for stewards in the Workplace
  • Stewards as Allies for Racial Justice

Understanding & Interpreting the Collective Agreement (UICA) (1 day)

This course explores key provisions in members’ collective agreements and introduces an easy four-step framework for interpreting the contract. We will practice applying the four-step interpretation method and examine cases providing examples of “aids to interpretation”. Using a number of case studies from adjudication / arbitration decisions (e.g., sick leave; operational requirements; other leave with or without pay; acting pay; discharge), we also will practice applying the collective agreement to actual workplace situations. Working with actual cases enhances your ability to problem solve through analysis and discussion. The course will “demystify” the collective agreement and provide you with the necessary skills and tools for on-going, self-directed learning. NOTE: please bring your collective agreement to this course.