On Friday, November 2, NSUPE hosted an advanced advocate training session for members who had previously attended a beginner-level session. This seminar was led by Nancy Elliott, NSUPE Business Agent and Lawyer.
Nancy began the session by discussing workplace stressors and the effects that they have on employees. The conversation progressed into a discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of the various methods that the Union can use to intervene and help members.
The training seminar also covered alternate dispute resolution methods, human rights and accommodation, and employee discipline. Nancy used these topics to engage attendees in conversation and to encourage everyone to think from both the Union’s and the Employer’s point-of-view. The advanced training session provided attendees with fewer methods and concrete dos and don’ts than the beginner session but instead pushed attendees to think about the various scenarios that they might be confronted with. The session also highlighted that many scenarios are not black and white and can be interpreted differently by each person.
Later in the morning, Judy and Larry Haiven from Equity Watch spoke about why their organization was created and why it is continuing to grow. They highlighted problems in Nova Scotia’s workplaces and what role they believe unions should play.
Ron Stockton, NSUPE Business Agent and Lawyer, also joined the group to speak about parameters. Ron reminded the group that there are many parameters imposed upon advocates, employees, and people in general. He cautioned that we must be aware of these parameters, work within them when appropriate, but not allow them to limit us in all circumstances.
Attendees were encouraged to be on the lookout for trouble. It was stressed that systemic problems won’t be solved by continuing with the status quo but instead by changing the system.