no, not about chocolates, but about this year’s TUC Organising Academy graduation which once again coincided with our Leading Change graduation (see here for details of the new Lay Leadership Development programme) bringing together existing and future union leaders in celebration of all things union and organising…. On a personal note, was also a chance to say some thanks and farewells to all those I have worked with during my time at the Academy. I have met and worked with some extremely talented Academy Organisers both in our national Academy and also in Union internal academies; we have trained, assessed and briefed over 2000 trade unionists and worked with 22 different affiliate unions in the uk on a range of projects. My time here has been an honour and a privilege. So whilst excited to be moving into my new role with ITF and IUF leading a new project, I am also going to miss spending time with colleagues here in the uk; thanks everyone for an amazing time!
Its that time of year when the TUC Organising Academy is recruiting for trainee organisers and we already have 2 development centres full, those of you interested need to get your applications in as soon as possible to secure a place. For the more experienced organisers out there, there are plenty of opportunities around, have a look at UNISON’s website for organising vacancies at both entry and senior levels. The GMB have an opportuntity in the south of the UK and for the more adventurous of you, LabourNET in Australia is advertising loads of positions
It’s been a really interesting few weeks, first spending time with the TUC’s Women Officers Summer School working on narrative and tools to encourage other women into activity in the movement. Then up to Ruskin to explain the picture of unions and organising in the uk and shifting the students from our history into the very real challenge of the present – they (The Webb Institute @ Ruskin pictured) were all really surprised to hear that the uk still has inequality in our pay systems (see Cheryl’s blog below) and when they saw the gender and executive pay gaps were visibily shocked.
Finally two more weeks, the first with the Advanced trainee group spending time on messaging and coalition building focussing on how to develop community group activity around local issues and build capacity for unions and, finally, this week with the year 12 trainees looking at the broader context of campaigning both in the workplace and beyond.
Liz Blackshaw is Director of the TUC Organising Academy
Spent a really interesting afternoon talking about digital strategy as part of our campaigning toolkit. With ever increasing social networking and instant communications, unions are getting involved in their own digital revolution and methods to support campaigns are becoming ever more sophisticated and, brilliantly, easier to use and be active in. Online communication to cause actions has been used to great effect in many campaigns, CWUs Keep the Post Public campaign being a case in point.
“Since the initial recruitment of Area and Local Organisers 2 years ago UNISON and the TUC Organising Academy have made adaptations and improvements to the process that is reflected in the many positive comments [in this document]. We believe that as UNISON moves towards further and better implementation of Meeting the Organising challenge, the need for the process to recruit the organisers and potential senior managers of the future to be further enhanced becomes yet more urgent” Touchstone Training, 2010
Extracts from a very interesting and positive review of the last 3 years work by the TUC’s Organising Team to support and develop UNISON’s huge effort to Meet the Organising Challenge. UNISON’s investment in their organising team is bringing in a visible new layer of organisers who are then trained through the UNISON/ TUC partnership to build union capacity. Remarkably, given that all potential organisers are put through their paces in a serious of simulated campaign activities over a 2 day period, over 90% of all those who have been through it were happy with their experience – even those who were unsuccessful!
Want to find out more about how the TUCs Organising Team can support your union’s orgainsing efforts? Contact either Carl or Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0207 467 1361
Have just returned from a week in the states which included attending AFSME leadership training. The training was hosted by Harvard and delivered by Marshall Ganz. One method was using narrative to capture and develop leadership potential. I have to quantify this by pointing out that this is a very simplistic summary of a very complex and thought provoking method.
The telling of the story, the narrative, breaks down into different parts but the most important consideration is that it has to be our story, told as it happens and equally important it has to be relevant and it has to have urgency. Hence the complexity. Here’s an attempt at a real example…
I have been (as have some of you I’m sure) watching the unfolding political events of the last few weeks and it felt a little like the end of a Dr Who episode where you hide because you know its going to be scary but you can’t help watching at the same time. I have also noticed a change in how the PM contenders approached the election and I saw a different campaign, did you? I saw spreads in Hello! magazine, interviews on Piers Morgan as well asthose live debates. Through this I feel I have heard some of their story. The final outcome is still unknown, a bit like those maths formulas: xy2=sum of conservative + liberal democrat.
One unknown quantity is still guaranteed in all of the papers and news reports. Our economy (meaning our jobs and income and the tax we pay across all of our workplaces providing all of the services we do for each other) still needs some work. Now we have two people making our decisions, maybe two heads are better than one but which one gets the final say? The value of us making sure that we have some say in what happens in every one of our workplaces is critical today because when have you or I ever faced this in our society?
The time to get our friends and family to join our unions and be active in our workplaces around the country is never more urgent than now. We have to make sure that all decisions affecting us and our jobs and income and taxes and services are influenced by us. So, I am going to go and make sure my friends and family are all in unions, will you?
This method works better spoken than written, and you will see that there is always room for improvement. The lessons learned from our american friends will be developed into a training course which the TUC Orgainising Academy will be running in the autumn, keep a watch on our website for further details.
The Andrew Marr show this morning had a brief section on community organising and community organisers and made reference to the ascent of President Obama from Chicago Community Organsieer to, aherm, President of the USofA. We at the Organising Academy have for years been training union organisers to build capacity at grass roots level. As a consequence of the Organsing Academy and other union initiatives , we have over 200,000 union reps who have volunteered and been elected to make a difference in the areas where they work. Many union campaigns link directly into communities and reach locally elected councillors, MPs, church leaders and other grassroots organisations. I am not saying that our esteemed Academy has or is housing the next PM of the UK, but what I am saying is that the bigger picture of organising – in workplaces, communities, and beyond – is not about career paths or stepping stones, it’s about finding and training local people and empowering them toward achieving a fairer more just society. Fulfilling this ambition take time, tenacity and hope. The TUC Organsing Academy has trained hundreds of organisers, and just this week alone is training over 30 people to continue to meet this ambition, we are in this for the long haul!