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NSGEU launches podcast: Union Matters

This morning, the NSGEU is releasing our first podcast, “Union Matters.” The purpose of this weekly podcast is to help raise awareness of important union issues with our members in an easy to access audio format. We’ll be discussing everything from union opportunities to labour relations and political issues with a range of guests.

We really hope that you enjoy our first podcast: this week, we’re discussing educational opportunities within the union. You can listen here:

Please let us know what other issues you’d like us to tackle on upcoming shows! You can send your ideas and feedback to communications@nsgeu.ca.

Thanks, and happy listening!

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See below for a full transcript of this week’s podcast:

 

Hello and welcome to the first episode of Union Matters, NSGEU’s weekly podcast. I’m your host this week, Holly Fraughton, and I’m joined here to day by NSGEU President Jason MacLean, and our Education and Organizing Officer, Lori Smith. Welcome Jason and Lori.

 

JM Thank you, Holly.

 

LS Thanks.

 

HF Jason, can you tell our listeners a little about what they can expect from this podcast.

 

JM Basically we want to tell what’s going on within the union. We represent 30,000 public sector workers in Nova Scotia. The podcast is intended for these members, but really, anyone with an interest in unions and labour relations may find this content interesting. We plan to invite guests on to discuss timely issues of public interest such as P# hospitals, elections, everything the NSGEU is into.

 

HF So, elections. Does that mean that the show’s going to be political?

 

JM You bet! Given the state of labour relations in Nova Scotia over the past few years, I don’t think we can avoid getting political, especially when the government makes decisions that will effect our members in a negative way.

 

HF How often can people expect to hear from us?

 

JM Our goal is to publish weekly depending on what’s going on that particular week. Our episodes may be short and sweet or could be a little bit longer depending on the topic.

 

HF This week, for example, we are broadcasting from our annual Weeklong School. This is the second-last day of Weeklong School. A lot of NSGEU members might not know very much about this event, Lori. So, in a nutshell, what is it all about? What is Weeklong School?

 

LS Sure, Weeklong School is really the Union’s program to develop our leaders and activists.

 

HF How many people attend every year?

 

LS About 80 people attend every year and they learn about everything from Leadership and Stewardship to Mobilizing and Communications.

 

HF So is it just like boring classroom work?

 

LS Absolutely not! Union education is about empowering adult learners to promote, expand, and defend the rights of workers. The kind of education we provide involves challenging inequality, discrimination, barriers and oppression, promotes democracy, more power in the workplace, and greater participation of equity-seeking groups. Union education also recognizes that we learn more, when we don’t just hear information, but we hear, see, and apply what we’re learning. So it is highly participative. All the instructors of the school are committed to this approach to learning. It’s democratic and values the experiences and opinions that everyone brings with them. We learn from each other in the environment that we create together by sharing experiences, asking questions, voicing opinions, and practicing our skills.

 

HF Sounds very democratic. Jason, as a member and an activist who has participated in this program before, can you tell us a bit about what you got out of the experience personally.

 

JM I did mine many years ago in Moncton at that time we called it the Atlantic School and it was through other national union components and New Brunswick, PEI, and Newfoundland participated in it. The very first course I took was Leadership. It really helped open my eyes to the rest of NSGEU. Before that I knew my local, but I didn’t really know our place in NSGEU and what the union was about, so it really created that air of comradery amongst locals for me.

 

HF Okay, and probably helped deepen your understanding of the Union as a whole.

 

JM Yes, it did.

 

HF How long have we been hosting it here at NSGEU, Weeklong School? Just three sessions?

 

JM Yeah, we’ve been doing it about three or four years now.

 

HF Jason, what do you wish that all members knew about our education program?

 

JM Well, I wish all our members knew how empowering Union education can be. On a basic level, I took that first course I didn’t realize that Union covered members’ time off to participate. That’s an important thing all membership should know.

 

HF A lot of our members probably don’t realize that we provide that resource to members who are interested in education.

 

JM No, and in addition to that, if somebody needs child care, we cover child care outside working hours as well.

 

HF That’s where we are right now with education. What’s the future of education with NSGEU?

 

JM Oh, well, we didn’t hire Lori only because she’s awesome. We hired Lori because she has a plan. What we’re doing is creating a new education program and it’s going to be rolled out at our upcoming convention in May.

 

HF Oh, okay. Excellent, so it’s an exciting time to be involved in education at NSGEU?

 

LS It is, it’s really exciting, and I’m really looking forward to digging in and developing a plan going forward.

 

HF For our members at home who might be listening to this, all applications for NSGEU education opportunities, as well as our scholarships and bursaries programs can be found on our website nsgeu.ca under the Education tab.

 

Well Lori and Jason, thank you so much for taking the time to meet with us today. We’ll let you get back to classes at Weeklong School now. To our listeners, thanks so much to tuning in to the first Union Matters podcast. We hope you liked it. Please don’t forget to subscribe. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter at NSGEU. Our Weeklong School hashtag is #wls2018. Have a good one!

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