CLC Winter School
Each winter, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) provides week-long labour education for union members at Harrison Hot Springs. The PEA will send two PEA members and two PEA members who are young workers (30 years old and younger). (HESU Chapter members, if selected, will require Chapter Executive pre-approval to attend). The PEA will also send two PEA Executive members. Registrants attend a week-long session on one focused topic. Without exception, feedback has been very positive from PEA members attending Winter School in the past.
The course schedule and course descriptions are posted on the CLC website. Winter School runs in January and February 2020. The PEA will pay for course costs, travel, accommodation, food and union leave. Final attendees will be interviewed for The Professional. The deadline to apply was November 15. The call for expressions of interests is now closed.
Are you interested in attending?
Member Stories from Winter School
New Learnings, Fresh Perspectives
Building Skills for Work and Life
BCFED affiliation is an antidote to the daily grind
Words Jackie Wong
We’ve all been there: when work feels like a grind, the days struggle along and we begin to feel stuck. In those moments, it’s easy to forget that our workplace challenges are not burdens we must shoulder on our own. Every day, PEA members are working alongside a vast community of workers across the province who face similar questions and tensions. We are not alone in our struggle, and kindling connections of support across worker communities is a powerful way to transcend the daily grind.
The PEA is connected to thousands of people in the labour movement as a member union of the BC Federation of Labour (BCFED), an affiliation the PEA has had since 2013. The BCFED represents over 500,000 members from unions across BC, and is connected to workers across Canada through its membership in the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).
Among other benefits, the PEA’s affiliation with the BCFED provides a powerful connection to community through learning opportunities offered through two popular programs, the CLC Pacific Region Winter School and the BCFED’s Young Workers’ School at Camp Jubilee.
“I watched the power of the union at work”
The CLC Pacific Region Winter School takes place every January and February at Harrison Hot Springs Resort in BC’s Fraser Valley. The school offers week-long courses that focus on building skills in areas such as workshop facilitation, mental health first aid and collective bargaining. Others explore solutions to challenges that can arise when advocating for psychologically healthy workplaces or against gender-based violence.
Sam Davis, a planning forester with BC Timber Sales in Williams Lake, was a Winter School participant in a February 2019 course called “The Basics of Organizing,” offered through the BCFED Organizing Institute. The experience of taking the course alongside hundreds of other members of the labour movement and learning about the process of organizing into a union, he says, was an inspiring reflection of why working in solidarity across unions matters so much.
“I watched the power of the union at work,” he says. “It’s about sharing that control. It helps us shape our future. And in the end, societally, we’ll end up in a better place.”
Another course, called “Facing Management Effectively,” struck a chord with Elizabeth Hunt, a local rep in Dawson Creek, where she works as a stewardship officer with the Peace Natural Resource District.
The course walked participants through the process of preparing for meetings in which the people involved may not see eye to eye. It’s a situation that can be an ongoing source of anxiety in working life, but which many of us rarely have an opportunity to explore productively in community with other workers.
“It blew me away, the number of different unions and associations that were there,” Hunt says. “It made me realize that, you know, I’m not the only one out there.”
The course, she says, proved widely applicable to all aspects of her professional life, from her work negotiating forest stewardship plans with a range of stakeholders to her role as local rep.
Winter School, she says, equips participants with new skills they can apply “not only for work, but for your life. It gives you really good skills all around.”
Concrete steps forward
The immersive nature of Winter School offers a welcome departure from the daily routine of work, but the courses are designed specifically for participants to carry the lessons forward into their everyday professional lives.