NANAIMO – More than 100 stewards from 24 CUPE locals gathered in Nanaimo last week for the second Stewards Conference hosted by the Vancouver Island District Council (VIDC).
After a very well-attended first conference in 2010, planning for the second conference got underway.
“CUPE declared 2016 the year of health and safety, so the organizing committee thought having a health and safety focus at this conference would be very appropriate. We were able to offer delegates CUPE’s new Health and Safety Learning Series and provide brand new safety modules at the conference,” explains organizing committee member and VIDC president Amber Leonard.
The three-day conference opened with a plenary session Wednesday evening and was followed by two days of workshops and a closing plenary session Friday afternoon. Courses offered included:
- Introduction to Occupational Health and Safety
- Bullying and Harassment, Understanding Mental Health
- Creating Psychologically Healthy Workplaces
- Violence Prevention in the Workplace
- Mediating Member to Member Conflict
- Creating an Accommodation Friendly Workplace
- Resolving Grievances Without Going to Arbitration
- Women and Work Hazards,
- Workload and Overwork
- Disability Issues for Stewards
Sarah Fairbrass, VIDC’s vice-president and an organizing committee member, described the conference as the perfect opportunity for stewards to understand how they can better assist and support their members. The goal of the conference is for both new and more seasoned stewards to gain practical skills and increase their confidence in assisting members so their overall capacity as a steward increases.
“This conference is an opportunity for delegates to relax and network with other union members from diverse backgrounds and experience levels,” notes Fairbrass. “This informal networking provides an opportunity for delegates to learn from one another and create lasting relationships.”