NARAMATA – Members from throughout B.C. attended week-long workshops at CUPE BC’s 34th annual Naramata summer school. One hundred and sixty CUPE members attended, with almost two-thirds being first-time students at Naramata. Courses covered topics like job evaluation, communications, parliamentary procedure and public speaking, notetaking and representing members, bargaining, and resolving conflicts. New courses were offered in Creating Social Justice, Building Local Unions, and the Steward Learning Series. The Steward Learning Series was so popular, Union Development put on an extra workshop.
Elder Richard Armstrong of the Okanagan Nations and the Traditional Knowledge Keeper of En’Owkin Centre welcomed participants to the territory. He said it was an honour to have us as guests. Armstrong sang a blessing song that asked for protection for participants while in Naramata – and protection for their families – and that they have an open discussion and gain wisdom. Martin McKenzie from HEU and a co-senator on CUPE’s National Aboriginal Council explained the tradition of the First Nations blessing.
The popular school’s format includes community activities and events after classes including a Kettle Valley hike and a visit to a local winery. This year’s activities introduced a “rodeo”, organized by CUPE 1004 members. The Local also organized and ran a fifty-fifty draw that raised over $300 for the Naramata Centre community.
The third annual poster contest was again a hot competition. Each class submitted a poster about their workshop and a winner was chosen for each week. Winners were Parliamentary Procedure and Public Speaking from week one and Resolving Conflict from week two. See all the posters and other pictures on the CUPE BC photo gallery.
Featured guest speakers GVP Cindy McQueen and CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill told attendees about the history of CUPE’s school at Naramata and the importance and benefits of participating. Both speakers paid tribute to shop stewards and praised the important work they do for members.
“Shop stewards are the base of everything we do,” said O’Neill. “I would encourage people to take advantage of the great initiative CUPE has launched with Year of the Steward. Get involved in your local union, because that’s where it all happens.”
Next year CUPE’s Naramata school will be held the last week of May and the first week of June. Union Development will post notification of courses by early December. The next opportunity for members to take courses is at the Parksville school that is being held October 24 – 29.