Leadership Apprentice Program for Stewards builds our Leaders for Tomorrow
New graduates prove program value
Local 1000’s comprehensive training program for new stewards is entering its second year as graduates are already reporting success at their worksites.
The Leadership Apprentice Program for Stewards (LAPS), which began last year, was developed to provide new stewards the tools they need to be more effective leaders in their workplaces and in their communities.
“This program is an investment in the grassroots strength of our union,” said Tamekia N. Robinson, vice president for organizing/representation. “The collective power of Local 1000 is based on the ability of our stewards to share union values and to connect with coworkers and their communities.”
The first LAPS class began in July 2014 and 36 members graduated in December. The program is a mix of online courses, in-person meetings and hands-on training where participants shadow field organizers and union representatives.
“I had an opportunity to see it all. I got to work on representation cases at the Union Resource Center, listen in on calls at the Member Resource Center and go out in the field with organizers,” said Mark Levingston, a LAPS graduate at the Department of Social Services in Sacramento. “LAPS did more than give me the tools I need to succeed as a steward. It really opened my eyes about the power and potential of our union.”
Participants spend the first month learning about the workings of the union and the role of stewards. Then they spend three months in intermediate training that includes several half-day sessions with organizers, representatives, lobbyists and other stewards. The final two months include deeper hands-on training, as participants spend a week working full-time on representation and then work another week with an organizer. LAPS participants also were active in the 2014 elections and attended rallies for the Fight for $15 an hour and a Union.
“Even before I was certified as a steward, my LAPS training gave me the tools to help coworkers with problems at the office,” said Joel Chan, a business tax specialist at the Board of Equalization in Oakland.
“The LAPS training helped me really realize that politics is much more important than I previously realized because the political process is connected to everything we do as state workers and members of the middle class,” Chan said.
“We can’t just exist on an island. We really need strategic alliances to accomplish things,” according to Chan. I now see that the union is more than just organizing state workers. The union is a powerful tool for economic and social progress.”