LERC’s Union Leadership Education and Development (ULEAD) program graduated seventeen students from a diverse group of unions including the Machinists, the Oregon School Employees, SEIU 503, AFSCME, the Communication Workers, the Inland Boatmen’s Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers.
Here are the 2009 graduates, being recognized at this year’s’ AFL-CIO Summer School, held in Eugene August 7-9.
ULEAD graduates a variety of things they got out of the program that contribute to their union activism and their view of how unions can change to suit the times:
Jaimie Sorenson is a steward, Political Action Committee chair, and education chair for AFSCME Local 328 at the Oregon Health Sciences University.
Jaimie found LERC classes on “issue framing” to be helpful in seeing how labor’s opponents attempt to shape public perceptions of unions and political issues. She also appreciated the mock bargaining sessions in the collective bargaining class she attended, which helped her prepare for negotiations.
Jaimie wants union leaders to share knowledge more freely, and mentor younger members and leaders more consciously.
Kevin Billman is an organizer for UFCW Local 555.
Kevin values the “basic principles of unionism” he learned in all of the LERC classes he has taken. He found the arbitration and collective bargaining classes quite useful, along with classes that made him “think about the big picture” when examining the problems labor is facing.
Kevin believes that LERC classes foster a greater sense of camaraderie among unions, and promotes greater unity within the Oregon union movement. He would like to see unions engage less in “union speak,” and be more attentive to speaking a language that both members and the public will understand.
Cheryl Bergman is a member of SEIU 503, a chapter president and a steward.
Cheryl especially appreciates the camaraderie with fellow union members that
she experiences when she attends LERC classes. She found that the grievance
handling classes were particularly helpful to her in her union work.
Cheryl has finished her U-LEAD certificate but hopes to continue attending
LERC programs like the AFL-CIO Summer School.
Check links along the left for further details on ULEAD requirements.