Steward training develops new leaders
Members step up to provide real representation
In Anthony Harrison’s workspace at EDD, he keeps a sign that says, “The changes we seek in our communities begin with us.” Harrison says the sign sums up this view of making the world a better place: involvement is everything. And Harrison wants to be involved.
Involvement meant stepping up from being a member to being a steward, so he signed on for Local 1000’s Leadership Apprentice Program for Stewards (LAPS). LAPS candidates participate in an intensive six-month apprenticeship. They 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 “shadowing” field organizers, then another week with union representatives in the Union Resource Center (URC).
Harrison just finished his week shadowing field organizers and an introductory day at the URC and came away with a fuller understanding of the complex work of a broad, statewide, member-run organization like Local 1000. “It was like seeing inside the machinery,” he says.
For Harrison, the shadowing and comprehensive training of the LAPS program will make him the best, most involved steward he can be. “I can take these tools back to the worksite and engage members more compellingly,” said Harrison. It will really increase my effectiveness.”