My webCampus Experience: James Putnam, UFCW 1518

Port Coquitlam, B.C. – July 3, 2014 – UFCW Canada members across the country are raving about the union's groundbreaking online education program, webCampus, which offers free online courses to all UFCW Canada members, their families, and community partners.

While many UFCW Canada members take webCampus courses out of personal interest, others see them as a way to develop their professional skills and add job qualifications to their resume. 

James Putnam, for instance, has applied his webCampus learning experience to complete a Mohawk College Labour Studies Certificate. A member of Local 1518 who works at Sobeys in Vancouver, James has taken over fifteen webCampus courses. He decided to apply the skills that he learned in the webCampus course Design Your Own Webpage and Blog to raise awareness of migrant worker issues. As part of his Mohawk College Labour Studies project, James created a blog and Twitter account to write about the plight of temporary foreign workers in Canada.

Brother Putnam had the following to say about his webCampus experience, and his journey in applying what he learned to completing his Mohawk College Labour Studies Certificate:

“The part of my project that I am most proud of is the blog post I wrote about the history of Chinese railway workers in Canada. A union’s future lies in fostering and representing a diverse membership, and we need to understand our country's history to know that diversity has always been an issue in the Canadian workforce. I was able to provide a local perspective on the rail workers who laboured in my community after volunteering at my local Heritage Centre. My blog post demonstrated that we all in some way have a personal connection to the issue of temporary foreign workers.

“But at its root this project was about respect. Respect for all workers and human beings, who are deserving of dignity regardless of where they were born. The webCampusHuman Rights & Diversity course helped me realize how important it was for me to give a voice to those who grow our food. Simply put, how can I expect my children to one day work in an environment of dignity and respect if I don’t work today to help create such a culture?

Of course a huge asset for me in the creation of this project was the Design Your Own Webpage and Blog course. I knew nothing about blogs before taking the course, and while searching for a unique way to demonstrate my learning, I realized that I could not only talk about an issue that is important to me, but also do it in a creative way. Since I began this project, I have learned so much about blog creation. It's knowledge that I will use in life and be able to share with my two young daughters.

As a member of the UFCW for over 24 years, I have truly benefitted from the opportunities afforded to me by webCampus and my union. I would like to thank UFCW Canada for helping me learn and grow in new ways.”