Workers Training Workers

Is there a better way? The concept for training union members is just that “workers training workers. As a shop steward who trained you,

who taught you the collective agreement, who showed you how to fill out a grievance form or how to fulfill your role as a union officer. The answer of course is another union member. As adults and for the most part out of school, where do we learn about our rights in the workplace and legislation from a labour point of view?
The best place for health & safety training is from the WHSC (workers health & safety center). They have dozens of health and safety courses covering every topic in the never ending world of health and safety. I was fortunate to attended some of these courses and agree this group is second to none. The instructors are well trained and deliver a 1st rate program. The WHSC coordinators who are the behind the scenes people who make it happen and ensure that it is a 5 star program are owed a lot of credit.
Their flagship course is the instructor training program. This is their jewel, the one that every safety activist should attend. This course is the one that turns everyday union safety activists into advocates and messengers to promote the mandate of the WHSC. To develop instructors (workers) to train workers (union brothers and sisters) from a labour mindset. That is to concentrate on the real issues in workplaces, the 3 rights, work refusals, reporting hazards, certification and regulations per OHSA or the CLC Part II.
The WHSC delivers this course in a very strong, soul searching, heavily structured intense two weeks. I found this out after attending the training program this summer at Brock University (St.Catherines). There were 14 other participants in the class and 10 who bunked in the dorms will never forget the small rooms, beds, sharing a washroom and movie nights in the common room at the end of the hall. Talk about ice breakers. It was an experience that I or my classmates will never forget. For those of you who have attended this training you will remember the 2, the 15 and the 180 minute presentations that really put you to the test. The WHSC people are very dedicated and passionate about health and safety. They have a mandate when it comes to course content and they stick to it to ensure you get the message. This of course is so you will take it back to your membership and educate them. One of the most unique parts of their programs are the people that attend them. You can be sitting next to teachers, mechanics, health care workers, electricians, food and grocery workers, aircraft ground crews, and many more from diverse workplaces. It’s the experiences, stories and lessons where you learn so much from.
I urge all IAMAW locals to send their members to WHSC training courses as they are the best at workers training workers, there is no better way.
Don Currie