Over 100 CUPE members took part in seven workshops today on a range of topics.
CUPE Education Representative Bev Norman said most of the classes were at or exceeding capacity.
Classes included Speakers’ Jitters, Labour History, Employment and Pay Equity, LAPP, Retirement Planning, Stewards, and Respect in the Workplace.
One of the more popular courses was CUPE Alberta history, taught by Winston Gereluk and Dave Werlin of the Alberta Labour History Institute. The course outlined the history of CUPE with the broader labour movement, and brainstormed ideas for union activists to preserve their own Locals’ history.
“A lot of people think of Alberta as a Conservative place, but we’ve got quite a radical history,” Gereluk said. “Not enough people know about the rich history of labour in this province.”
Students got a chance to practice their public speaking skills at the ‘Speakers’ Jitters’ course, taught by Local 30 activist Kirk Oates and Regional Director Dianne Wyntjes.
After getting tips and techniques from the instructors, students were given a choice of topic ideas ranging from their trip to Fort McMurray to the $400 prosperity cheque) a few minutes to prepare some notes, and were then thrown in front of a mike for a three minute speech.
Students also shared some of their public speaking horror stories. Local 30 activist Terry Jardine told the class about a speech he made before 150 people in before 150 people in which he couldn’t stop wondering if his fly was down. “For the whole two minutes, that’s all I could think of.”