What is a member facilitator?

CUPE workshops are facilitated by both members and staff. Member facilitators are sometimes called “occasional instructors”. They are volunteers who are selected and trained to facilitate some CUPE workshops.

Why does CUPE have member facilitators?

Using member facilitators is an important part of our approach to union education. Members relate to each other as peers – workers who share similar experiences. This helps participants feel at ease when sharing ideas and learning new skills.

Using member facilitators promotes democracy within the union, actively involves more members, and builds a strong base of union leadership.

What kind of commitment is involved?

While some workshops are planned many months in advance, others are set up as new or urgent needs arise. While there is no fixed number of workshops that you are asked to lead in a given year, the range would be 1 to 10 workshops. Most take place on weekends and some in the evening.

What expenses are covered?

Member facilitators are volunteers and not CUPE employees. You will be paid for lost wages and for accommodation, travel, meals and other expenses related to this role.

How can I become a member facilitator?

The National Executive Board in December 2004 approved a policy paper for the recruitment, training and support of member facilitators.

Each CUPE region finds and trains member facilitators as needed. This usually happens every couple of years. People who are interested must fill out an application form and go through a selection process. If you want to learn more, please contact your Education Representative.

Who makes a good member facilitator?

Because CUPE education starts with the belief that members are the experts, the facilitators’ role is to help members build confidence, exchange ideas and develop skills to deal with workplace and community problems.

A strong member facilitator is:

  • Able to listen to others and speak well.
  • Open to many points of view.
  • Able to deal with difficult situations.
  • Self-motivated and eager to learn.
  • Respectful of others’ knowledge and experience.
  • Committed to trade union values like democracy, equality, and social justice. We are also looking for facilitators who reflect the diversity of our membership.

What training and support will I get?

Once selected, you get 5 days of training in popular education methods. You will have time to practice facilitating sections of CUPE workshops. Your costs for the training - including lost wages, meals, accommodation and travel – are paid by CUPE.

After your training, the Education Representative will support you and provide feedback as you begin leading workshops. You also have the CUPE message forum to share ideas and experiences with other member facilitators.