Union Education

CLC Winter School

The BCGEU sends members to this very popular school every year in Harrison Hot Springs. Registration occurs in the fall of every year.

BCGEU's Education Course Offerings

BCGEU’s workplace leaders—our stewards, local officers and bargaining committee members—have access to a comprehensive education program to help them develop skills and expertise to represent members in the workplace. We offer "core" courses from 1/2 day to 3 days in length, offered through the area offices. Mini modules run from 2-4 hours in length, and can be offered through area offices.

BCGEU Education, Activism and Communications Committee

The Education, Activism and Communications Committee has a broad mandate to promote awareness of union education programs and to make recommendations to the Provincial Executive on union education programs and communications.

Labour Heritage Centre

Check out the Labour Heritage Centre for unique information on the working history in B.C.



Each year, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) offers four scholarships that reflect its pursuit of equal opportunity for all workers. They're open to the children of the National Union’s 340,000 members, including the BCGEU, who are entering post-secondary education.

Click for information and applications

Core Courses

Basic Steward Training

For new shop stewards. This three-day course provides skills and knowledge needed to: 

  • Recognize violations of workers’ rights by the employer;
  • Advocate on members’ behalf before the employer; and
  • Communicate effectively with workers, managers, and union staff, and
  • An overview of the history/structure of the union and the Workplace Leadership program.

It also identifies resources available to stewards to support their efforts. This course is organized through BCGEU area offices. New stewards who haven't yet been contacted to receive training should call their area office for information on the next available session of the course.

Advanced Steward Training 

Building on the skills stewards are taught in Basic Steward Training and work place experience, this course focuses on the highs and lows of dealing with management and with grievors, management tactics, the stewards right to information, duty to accommodate and the arbitration process. Simulated grievance settlement meetings—which test and strengthen stewards’ skills in a supportive environment—are a central part of the course as well as theory and the latest arbitral jurisprudence and common grievances of the worksite.

This course is organized through BCGEU area offices. PRE-REQUISITE: You must have dealt with issues in the workplace with the employer and/or filed some grievances.

Local Officer Training 

This course provides elected local officers with the tools they need to be effective work place leaders and to carry out their specific duties as local chairpersons, recording secretaries, financial secretaries and executive members.  Participants learn to:

  • Facilitate effective meetings;
  • Speak well in public settings; and
  • Develop strategic plans for workplace and community action campaigns.

Information on the next session of this course in your area is available from your BCGEU area office.

Labour Management Training/Private and Broad Public Sector 

This course was developed to assist committees in understanding their roles and responsibilities, conflict and problem solving techniques, effective communication and conducting an effective labour management meeting and what the parameters are of the committee.  Employers can be included in the course should the situation warrant.  Contact your Staff Representative at your area office.

Member Facilitators Training

Most courses offered by the BCGEU have a staff and a member co-facilitating. We take you through the concepts and philosophies of labour, popular and adult education. The course walks you through how to "think equity" in all your courses, facilitators' tools, responsibilities and challenges, effective communication, and processes and techniques. At the completion you will be expected to co-facilitate Basic Stewards' courses, short modules to locals and co-facilitate at conferences.

Prerequisite: You must be recommended by the Regional Coordinator, have been active as a Steward for at least 4 years and have your Advanced Steward training, active in your Local, and be very comfortable presenting and speaking in front of groups. This course is 2 days and is scheduled by the Education Officer, as required.


Public Speaking

As union activists, we often find ourselves in situations where we have to speak at a convention, rally or at a Local meeting. We'll show you how to have confidence, develop a message and deliver the speech. You'll be able to speak to your audience and speak comfortably. We'll work not with your fears, but with your strengths. A fun and interactive workshop. Contact your area office to see if the course can be done at your Local's next meeting. Length: 3 hours.

Surviving Media Interviews

A interactive course that puts you in front of the camera! As union activists we may end up in front of a TV camera or a microphone. Activists are on the front lines in campaigns, strikes, bargaining, rallies and issues facing our communities. We show you how to alleviate your fears, simplify preparation, sticking to the message and being comfortable in front of a camera and microphone. You get to practice in front of a real camera and microphone and see yourself on TV. Lots of fun in a safe environment. Great for Locals or worksites that may be going on strike or prior to a campaign.
Length: 3 hours.

Speak Up! Speak Out!

This three hour highly interactive course shows you the differences between communicating assertively, passively and aggressively combined with verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Learn how to gain insight and self-confidence in getting your point across to the employer, to your co-workers and in day to day discussions in an assertive manner. Role plays are included so come prepared to play your part!

Union Observer Training

If your collective agreement contains language for union observers and you are interested in this role, this is the course for you. You will understand the language of the agreement regarding observing at job interviews, and learn about your role in relation to your members. Learn how to take notes effectively and appropriately.

Oh No! Not Another Meeting!

For Local executive members and members generally. Are your meetings really boring? Do you follow the same boring agenda? This course will have the class working together to develop ways of making meetings more interesting. Find out what will bring members out, what motivates people, and how technology can be useful -- and not so useful. Understand how the different generations view meetings and find ways to overcome geography issues and issues of balance.

Harassment/Discrimination and Bullying

This interactive workshop can be done jointly with the employer or with the membership at the worksite. Learn what the prohibited grounds are under the Human Rights Code, the language that addresses harassment, discrimination and abuse of supervisory authority in collective agreements. You will look at policies and procedures the employer has in place. You will do some interactive exercises and disseminate some case studies in a video. In conjunction with this is a power point presentation on bullying, with amazing facts and definitions and what we can do about this prolific behaviour in our workplaces. Contact your area office to see if this course can be done in your workplace or at your Local. Length: 3 hours.

Bargaining Committee Training 

For bargaining committee members this course helps activists advocate for members during the bargaining process, review roles and responsibilities and the bargaining process from start to finish. Contact the Staff Representative assigned to your bargaining.

Audio Conferences

Audio Conferences are organized and run out of your area offices. This informative tool is great for Stewards, Local Officers, or even someone who is interested in being a steward. These sessions consist of a 1.5-2 hour audio on a specific subject. The panels are made up of management and labour and each present their perspectives. They talk about the leading cases in the specified subject and what employers and unions are doing within these scopes. You also receive a large package of all the subject information.

If you have a group of people and would like to get together to listen to an audio conference, please contact your area office. Or call the office and ask when the next one will be held. They are open to anyone. Be advised that these audio conferences must be ordered from the Education Department and can only be listened to at the area offices. A staff Representative will attend to stop and start the conference so that the group can discuss aspects and views that have been brought up in the panels.

DVD/VHS Library

The Education Department has many videos and DVDs available for Locals to view. Use them as part of your Local meetings to get more people out...have popcorn during the video and make it accessible for everyone. Run the video at a worksite or for a particular worksite within your Local.

Take a look at the list and if there is something of interest that you would like to use in your Local, contact the Education Department and order the video and it will be signed out to you, or the area office, and to be returned when you are finished.

Facilities Bargaining Association (FBA) Education Fund

The FBA fund is currently closed. While there is currently no funds available for new applicants, the recent tentative agreement includes additional funding for the FBA Education Fund. Those funds will not be available until members of Facilities subsector unions ratify the tentative agreement. Those votes will take place in June. If the agreement is ratified, the FBA Education Fund committee will meet to plan Fund programming.

When new information is available, it will be posted here. Thank you for your patience.