Unions tend to be reactive: someone is disciplined and a grievance is submitted; a strike vote is taken in response to an unsatisfactory round of bargaining, etc.
Activists are kept busy responding to the things coming at them from the membership, the employer, and from CUPE. Consequently, most executive members never get around to doing much planning. Thats too bad, because many problems that activists complain about such as apathy and lack of militancy can be solved. To become proactive rather than reactive, executive members need to take the time to analyze their problems and then work out a plan to deal with them.
The CUPE Education Department developed this booklet to help executives work out plans for solving problems that they themselves define. The booklet consists of five exercises with a detailed explanation of how to proceed step by step in the planning process.
The exercises will take three or four hours to complete. We suggest that you set aside at least half a day with only this planning exercise on the agenda and meet where you wont be disturbed by phone calls, etc. The exercises dont have to be all done in one session. A flipchart or a blackboard will come in handy to record comments and ideas but are not essential.
Whoever is coordinating the meeting should read through this booklet so that they see how the exercises fit together. If there are any questions, contact your Education Representative.
The people who are best suited to take part are those who will implement the plans you develop. Limit participation to 10 to 12 people so the group doesnt get too unwieldy.
Planning and budgeting are closely related. Secretary-Treasurers should incorporate costs associated with the plan developed in this exercise into their budget estimates.