USW District 3 School 2023

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Notice from Director Scott Lunny

Dear District 3 locals and members,

I am very excited that we are holding our District School on Sept. 17-22, 2023. We are also going to be moving to St. Eugene Resort in Cranbrook, B.C. on the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa Nation.

The resort is proudly owned by the 4 Ktunaxa Nation bands (including the ‘Aquam, ‘Akisqnuk, Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi’it (Tobacco Plains), Yaqan Nukiy (Lower Kootenay) Bands and Shuswap Indian Band and is represented by the BCGEU.

As with last year, there will be changes to this year’s agenda and I encourage you to review the agenda and registration package thoroughly. This will include additional costs for members who are bringing their partners, as well as options for childcare. We encourage you to review these options when you are registering members and continue to review the website for updates to the agenda.

After member feedback last year, we will be asking locals to donate items to an auction or raffle instead of taking up cash collections for the humanity fund. If your local has any items that they would like to donate, please send them to the district office or with your members to the school.

I also want to remind locals that there are scholarships available for Indigenous members attending the district school this year, as well as scholarships for members who are attending the national gathering in 2023.

The following courses will be offered this year:

  1. Advanced Grievance Handling
  2. Leadership for Action
  3. Facing Management (Course is full)
  4. Bargaining
  5. Occupational Health and Safety (Course is full)
  6. Unionism on Turtle Island

Please see the enclosed school information and course outlines. One form must be completed for each local union delegate and the registration fee must be submitted to the District 3 office. You can register members online here.

We look forward to your local’s participation in this year’s school.

In solidarity,

Scott Lunny
Director, District 3

District 3 School Registration Package

District 3 School will be taking place on the traditional unceded territory of the Ktunaxa Nation. Ktunaxa (pronounced ‘k-too-nah-ha’) people have occupied the lands adjacent to the Kootenay, Columbia Rivers and the Arrow Lakes of British Columbia, Canada for more than 10,000 years and covers approximately 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles) within the Kootenay region of south-eastern British Columbia and historically included parts of Alberta, Montana, Washington, and Idaho.

Times to note for 2023:

Sunday, September 17

  • Registration – 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm
  • School Opening session – 5:00 pm

Monday, September 18

  • Welcome Session – 9:00 am – 10:00 am
  • Class – 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
  • Evening session – 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Tuesday, September 19

  • Class 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
  • Evening session – 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Wednesday, September 20

  • Class – 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
  • Free Night

Thursday, September 21

  • Class – 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
  • Banquet – 6:00 pm

Friday, September 22

  • Class – 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
  • Closing session – 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm


Unionism on Turtle Island
This course is aimed at non-Indigenous Steelworkers (but open to all members) where you will:

  • Learn more about our shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.
  • See how union struggles and Indigenous struggles connect.
  • Discuss how individual members, locals, and our union as a whole can practise reconciliation.
  • Learn from a local elder and ask any questions you might have about Indigenous cultures.
  • Help make your local more effective in bargaining for and representing Indigenous members.

Advanced Grievance Handling (Stewards 3)
This advanced grievance handling course will cover how to strategize for the final grievance meeting and look at how to resolve, withdraw, or move forward. Participants will learn how to use research to determine if they have a case to move forward with and how to prepare their case. If you have a laptop, please bring it to the course.

This is an advanced course that will cover:

  • Analyzing grievances
  • Duty of Fair Representation
  • Introduction to case law
  • Research

Prerequisites: Steward 1 and 2

Occupational Health and Safety – (Course is full)
This course is designed to introduce members to their role as a worker representative and their role on the joint occupational health and safety committee. This course will look at how to identify and address hazards, and how to assess the controls required to address hazards. We will introduce participants to how to access their provincial health and safety law along with Part II of the Canada Labour Code, regulations, and related laws. Participants will practice workplace inspections, accident and incident investigations and discuss other duties of workplace committee members or health and safety representatives.

This course will assist members who serve on Bargaining Committees to understand the collective bargaining process and prepare participants to work as part of the negotiating team. Participants will be better prepared for events by getting both themselves and the membership “ready and engaged” in the bargaining process. It will ensure participants are aware of the challenges they will face both within and outside of the committee while carrying out their responsibilities. Communication with the membership will be a key part of this training.

Sessions will include:

  • Determining issues
  • Communicating with the membership
  • Negotiating skills
  • Contract language
  • How to cost a package

Facing management – (Course is full)
This course offers an opportunity to learn new skills and strategies for Steelworker activists to use in joint labour-management committees and as shop stewards. This course is designed for new and experienced activists that would like to learn about union-management relations, traditional and modern management theories and systems, and the history of work organization. Communication skills, group dynamics training, and conflict resolution skills will be emphasized. The course offers hands-on practice sessions in skill-building techniques so that you will be as comfortable in the boardroom as you are at a union meeting.

Leadership for Action
Steelworkers are leaders inside and outside of our workplaces, protecting workers’ rights, speaking out for change, and motivating and encouraging the participation of members at work, in our communities, and through political action.

Leadership for Action will help you develop leadership and communications skills to build solidarity.

Sessions focus on:

  • Leadership styles
  • Presentation skills
  • Strategic planning
  • Campaign management
  • Mentoring
  • Problem-solving
  • Conflict resolution

Due to the number of courses being offered, class sizes and registration will be limited.

All courses are registered on a first come – first serve basis.

Enroll early!

For your information

  • The registration form and fee per person must be received in the District 3 office no later than Thursday, August 17, 2023.
  • The registration fee includes all meals from Sunday evening to lunch at noon on Friday. There will be a banquet dinner on Thursday night. The fee also includes accommodation (Sunday to Thursday inclusive) and course materials.
  • There will not be transportation provided, but there are a number of taxis from the Cranbrook Airport. The resort will be about 10 minutes from the airport.
  • You are expected to attend and participate in all sessions, including the evening sessions. You are there with the trust of the members to use their union dues in a way that will benefit members. Locals will be contacted if attendance is an issue.
  • Cancellations: If for any reason a student is unable to attend the school, please inform the District Office no later than one week prior to the commencement of the school.
  • Registration will take place from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm on Sunday, September 17. There will be signs at check-in to indicate where this will be happening.

Please ensure that each student has a copy of all the information contained in this package.

YOU will be required to pay for any incidentals incurred while in attendance at the school. If you do not cover these costs, the hotel will contact you or your local for the remuneration of these costs. The District will not be responsible for these costs.

Classes will end at 12:00 pm on Friday, and there will be a closing session from 1:00 pm -2:30 pm.

Robbie Kilbride Scholarship

In memory of Brother Robbie Kilbride, District 3 is offering a scholarship to a local union member who wants to participate in the Advanced Grievance course.

To apply for this scholarship, you are asked to write a 300-word essay on: “Factors to consider when making the decision to move forward in advancing a grievance”.

The essay is to be sent to the District 3 office no later than August 17, 2023, along with a completed registration form and registration fee. The local of the successful applicant will be reimbursed the registration fee.

Robbie passed away on June 7, 2004, leaving behind a long legacy of participation in the District 3 Summer Schools. His years of dedication to the Arbitration course have left his mark not only on the course but also on the hundreds of students who witnessed Robbie at his finest in the classroom. When it came to instructing others and mentoring Shop Stewards, Robbie was an accomplished teacher.

Robbie started his career at IPSCO in Port Moody, B.C. as a member of Local 5404 in 1974. Robbie held many positions in his local, including President. When IPSCO closed its operation in 1989, Robbie became an Organizer for the Steelworkers.

In June of 1990, Robbie became a staff representative and was assigned to service in Kimberley, B.C. His skills at the bargaining table and before an Arbitration Board assisted him to carry the local unions in the area through some difficult times. His passion was doing arbitrations and he was widely known and respected for his abilities by trade unionists, as well as employers and the lawyers he went up against.

In June of 1995, Robbie was assigned to the Trail, B.C. office where he remained until 2000 when he was transferred to the Winnipeg office and became the Area Supervisor. He was also the District 3 Health and Safety Coordinator and a member of the National Health and Safety Committee. Robbie was an active member of the NDP and sat on the Manitoba Federation of Labour.

District 3 School Registration