About three years ago, I was contacted by Los Angeles Trade Tech College and asked if our local would be interested in hosting labor classes in Orange County. It was a no-brainer and we quickly agreed to use our union hall as a site where these classes would be held but with one request, we teach the classes. These classes have been taught by Union Representative Matt Hart and myself. With this agreement in hand and the blessings of our President, Greg Conger, our labor studies program at Local 324 began.
We have just completed our 5th semester of studies with the completion of the Grievance and Arbitration class. This class was designed to prepare union stewards, activists and new union representatives to properly fill out grievance forms, investigate grievances, gather evidence, hold meetings with company representatives and prepare for arbitration. We also reviewed several real arbitration cases as well as conducted a mock arbitration from opening statements to closing arguments.
We studied state and federal laws that protect our members on the job and identified the proper agencies that investigate and process violations of the law. We reviewed steward’s rights on the job and the importance of an educated advocate who can resolve issues at the lowest level in the workplace.
These are full semester classes worth three units that meet one night per week. Other classes that we offered were: U.S. Labor History, Labor in America, Building Strong Unions and Labor in Cinema. Many of these classes are transferable to other colleges in the area.
In the fall we will teach Union Leadership which will focus on internal organizing, effective leadership skills, building political and community partnerships as well as mobilizing the union membership to work on political, organizing campaigns and contract campaigns. The class will feature guest speakers as well as a great deal of class participation.
These classes are available to all UFCW 324 members as well as anyone who would like to attend. Tuition for union stewards and activists is covered for all Local 324 members.
Classes run every Monday from 6 to 9pm starting Aug. 29 and end Dec. 12. For more information and a registration packet, please call the local at (714) 995-4601 x264 and ask about the labor studies program.
We look forward to seeing you there.