UFCW Canada members and staff from across the country recently gathered in Kempenfelt, Ontario, for a week-long training workshop on the collective bargaining process. The intensive course covered all aspects of the bargaining process — from how to handle a proposal meeting, to what happens at the bargaining table, to how to hold a ratification meeting.
“It was great to hear the experiences of everyone around the table and how bargaining differs in the various regions of the country,” says UFCW Canada national representative Devin Yeager who helped facilitate the course, along with Bryan Neath, UFCW Canada’s Ontario Regional Director. “Although the experience level varied from people that have been bargaining for 15 years to others that were recently elected as a shop steward and are preparing for their first set of negotiations, the experience that was shared by all was invaluable.”
“I was really new to the collective bargaining process before this course, but I was amazed at how much I was able to take in and now I am really looking forward to going to the bargaining table and using what I have learned,” says Michael Toal, national representative from British Columbia. “We learned various ways to deal with different styles of management and I really enjoyed the role playing exercise where we were able to bargain a first collective agreement. This was a great learning experience and I would encourage everyone to take this course.”
Over the span of the week the participants learned about how provincial and federal labour laws have particular impacts on how bargaining proceeds; from first contract arbitration to the differing forms of dispute resolution programs that have to take place before any work stoppage can take place. National representative Jim Wright also provided participants an overview of the recently introduced National Collective Bargaining Database, as well as a specialty software program available to all Locals to help them cost their bargaining proposals.
The Collective Bargaining course is available to all UFCW Canada bargaining units and Local unions. For more information, please contact the National Office.
Vol. XI No. 01 • January 3, 2011