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Course descriptions

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AUPE will offer nine courses throughout the next education term. The courses are intended to increase the union’s presence at the workplace and represent our members’ interests more effectively. The courses are:

Introduction to Your Union - Available online only

Description: What does the union do for me, and what is my responsibility to my union? This course will provide you with a basic overview of how the labour movement was integral to lobbying for the legislated rights and working conditions that we enjoy today. You will review AUPE’s structure and democratic process. This course will begin your learning journey with AUPE and help offer opportunities to be active within your union. This course is also offered online.

Note: This course does not teach how to read your collective agreement. This topic is covered in the “Contract Interpretation” course.

This course is for: All members.

Prerequisites: None.

This course utilizes:

  • Lecture
  • Videos
  • Discussions
  • Individual and group activities

Learning outcomes:

  • Identify AUPE’s mission statement and union principles.
  • Discover history of labour that has brought the union to where it is today.
  • Establish how AUPE provides support to its membership.
  • Investigate the leadership structure and governance of AUPE from the members at the worksite to Convention.
  • Assess various opportunities available to AUPE members.

Labour History: An Introduction to Workers’ History (2 days) - Currently not available

Description: Have you ever wondered why and how workers formed the first trade unions? This introductory course will help you see yourself in the past, to better understand yourself in the present. You will learn how history and activism are integrated, and gain access to the information, traditions, and knowledge that inform our union’s present struggles.

Note: The course will not provide a complete picture of the ‘jigsaw puzzle of the past,’ but rather gives some tools and understanding to continue exploring on your own.

This course is for: Anyone who wants to understand the past through a working-class lens and gain some insights into present day struggles for democracy and justice.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Your Union

This course utilizes:

  • A short homework reflection activity that helps you see your own stories as part of history, and to construct a timeline in class.
  • Members learn to access historical information through videos, academic articles, primary documents, comics, and photos.
  • Students will participate in-group activities and give short presentations to teach each other about the topics they are assigned.
  • AUPE’s award winning animated labour history video series.

Learning outcomes:

  • Identify what qualifies as history and how workers make it collectively.
  • Sympathize with the workers who formed the first trade unions.
  • Describe the transition from independent commodity production and craft unionism to mass production and industrial unions.
  • Discuss aspects of the history of women, indigenous, radicalized and LGBTQ workers.
  • Discover the role AUPE members can play in preserving and sharing labour history in Alberta.

Rethinking Politics (2 days) - Currently not available

Description: (This course was formerly titled Introduction to Politics.) Politics is not just for politicians. Figure out how you and your union have the political power to make positive changes in your home, workplace, community and the world. This course will help you understand just how politically powerful working people can be and the ways you and your union can continue to shape politics.

Note: This course is not focused on electoral politics or the political landscape.

This course is for: Those that are intrigued to learn more about why unions are political and to begin discussions about unions both on and off the worksite.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Your Union

This course utilizes:

  • Lecture
  • Readings
  • Discussion
  • Group activities

Learning outcomes:

  • Discover the ways you and your union continue to shape politics on the worksite, in your province and in your home.
  • Discuss how politically powerful working people can be.

Contract Interpretation (1 day) - Stay tuned for the online course

Description: You will be introduced to a seven-step process that facilitates how to read a collective agreement. Examination of contract language and applying a systematic approach to determine contract violations are key components of this introductory class.

Note: This course is not a forum for discussion on individual workplace issues.

This course is for: Members who want to learn the basics to reading and interpreting their collective agreement.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Your Union

This course utilizes:

  • Lecture
  • Individual activities
  • Group activities

Learning outcomes:

  • Develop knowledge of contract interpretation to give members the skills to identify violations within their own collective agreement Discuss how politically powerful working people can be.
  • Support members in identification of rights violations by providing a process and system to work within

Basic Conflict Management (2 days) - Currently not available

Description: This course focuses on basic conflict management skills. The class will look at effective communication as a strategy for preventing negative workplace conflicts and how prevention strategies can be used to address a conflict before it gets destructive. You will assess your own conflict management styles (strengths and challenges), and learn when not to intervene in conflicts.

Note: While this course will provided tools for conflict management, we will not be focused on your individual conflict scenario during the course.

This course is for: Those looking at gaining basic skills to dealing with conflict.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Your Union

This course utilizes:

  • Highly interactive activities
  • Discussions
  • Practical application of effective communication skills

Learning outcomes:

  • Define conflict and its advantages and disadvantages in the workplace
  • Recognize how your own perceptions of conflict may influence how you deal with conflicts
  • Develop and practice interpersonal communication skills for handling conflicts
  • Recognize your own conflict management style and strengths and challenges
  • Identify when it is appropriate and when it is not appropriate to intervene in conflict
  • Discuss strategies for preventing unhealthy conflicts from occurring

Foundations for Union Stewards (3 days + homework and mentorship) - Currently not available

Description: You will focus on the Union Steward as a grievance handler. The following areas will be covered to ensure a thorough process is followed for managing grievances: Roles and Responsibilities of a Steward, Interviewing Members, Legislation, Investigations, Disciplinary and Non- Disciplinary Grievances, Grievance Writing and Presentation. The program will include duty to accommodate situations and exposure to many other workplace scenarios. You will be expected to attend all three days of training and complete a homework assignment within a specific time period to continue on to the mentoring component of the program.

Note: This course is not for people who avoid conflict.

This course is for: Those who want to learn about labour relations and actively represent fellow members. This means going to investigations, filing grievances and working with AUPE staff and members to resolve issues.

Prerequisites: Basic Conflict Management, Intro to OHS, Contract Interpretation and must be a Nominated Steward.

This course utilizes:

  • Lectures
  • Discussions
  • Videos
  • Individual, paired and group activities
  • Practical application to grievance handling for onsite issues to include homework and mentorship

Learning outcomes:

  • Demonstrate grievance-handling steps by interpreting collective agreements.
  • Select and complete relevant grievance handling documents to support the grievance.
  • Demonstrate interviewing techniques through roleplaying.
  • Apply facts from case studies to identify breach of rights within collective agreements, Alberta legislation, including Duty to Accommodate.
  • Suggest alternate forums to resolve issues that are not a grievance.
  • Apply all the Grievance Handling Steps as per policies 10-14 and 10-16.
  • Explain the Union Steward’s role in the Duty of Fair Representation.

Intro to OHS - Available online only

Description: This introductory level course provides you with an overview of health and safety in the workplace. The history of health and safety issues, legislation, internal responsibility system, hazard identification and AUPE support will be reviewed. You will learn about some assessment tools and gain confidence to assist in developing effective health and safety cultures in your workplaces. You will also leave the course with access to valuable resources to continue your learning about OHS.

This course is for: Members interested in gaining a basic understanding of Occupational Health and Safety.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Your Union

This course utilizes:

  • Lecture
  • Exercises using legislation
  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Group discussion

Learning Outcomes:

  • Reflect on the historical events and issues that led to legislation in occupational health and safety
  • Recognize the different between the OHS Act, Regulation and Code, as well as other legislation
  • Examine the Internal Responsibility System as it pertains to responsibilities of the Employer and Worker
  • Describe workplace injuries and how they are associated to hazards
  • Evaluate hazard controls as they pertain to workplace hazard identification and assessments
  • Examine the intent of workplace injury reporting and the reality of under reporting

OHS for Stewards - Currently not available

The OHS for Stewards course is currently safely under construction.

Direct Action (2 days) - Stay tuned for the online course

Description: Are you tired of working short? Is your workload increasing while the number of staff to do it remains the same? Are you and co-workers feeling disillusioned by workplace decisions that impact you but you have no say about? Is collective bargaining (negotiations with union/workers and employer) meeting your expectations?

This course will empower you to take action in your workplace that will ensure your employer notices. It will provide opportunity for you to discuss workplace issues, and explore alternative methods to resolving them, in a setting that allows for open and frank conversation. This course will build your capacity to support your coworkers in raising workplace issues.

Note: Direct Action will provide options and resources to workplace issues that affect a majority of workers. This does not replace the grievance procedure for individuals.

This course is for: All members.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Your Union

This course utilizes:

  • Lecture
  • Videos
  • Discussions
  • Individual and group activities

Learning outcomes:

  • Empower members to create change in their worksites.
  • Build solidarity of co-workers through exposure to direct action methods.
  • Increase capacity for managing problems in the workplace that are not collective agreement violations.

Social Media for Union Activists (1 day) - Stay tuned for the online course

Description: Are you a union activist? Are you a social media user? Interested in learning more on how you can use social media to inform, engage and connect with fellow AUPE members and allies?

This course provides a strong foundation for taking your union activism to Facebook. You’ll learn how Facebook fits into AUPE’s union strategy, how to post and comment effectively, safety and privacy best practices as well as how to deal with anti-union trolls and detractors.

This course is not a “how to use Facebook” course, but rather how to engage on Facebook in your activism.

This course is for: All members.

Note: This is an interactive course and participants will have to ensure they have a Facebook account to participate. Participants will also be required to bring and use their charged mobile device (smartphone or tablet) with a Facebook app installed.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Your Union

This course utilizes:

  • Lecture
  • Discussions
  • Individual and group activities
  • Using your own device with a Facebook account to engage in social media solidarity

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand the role of social media in engaging with, and supporting other union activists.
  • Learn how Facebook fits into AUPE’s union strategy.
  • Learn about and practice effective and safe commenting on Facebook posts.
  • Participate in social media solidarity/activism.

Your Diverse Union - Rights and Responsibilities (1-2 hours) - Available online only

Description: This is a 1 – 2 hour* online course that examines human rights, Alberta’s specific provincial context, and the union’s responsibilities. The broader goal is to further our understanding of how we can be more inclusive, work in solidarity with each other, build power together, and examine the rights and responsibilities of members and the union as a whole.

This course is set up in three short modules and is meant for you to take at your own pace, with the ability to come and go into the course environment.

This course is for: All members

Prerequisites: None

This course utilizes:

  • Videos
  • Discussions
  • Reading
  • Activities

Learning outcomes:

  • To have an understanding of what human rights are and why they are important
  • Explain what the Alberta Human Rights Commission does and why
  • To further engage in discussions around the union’s responsibility related to human rights


Course dates and times

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Due to the COVID pandemic, face to face classes will not be held this semester. AUPE’s Education department is working hard on getting more courses online for you. These courses will be posted on the website as they become available.

All courses will have a class time of 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. for all dates. Members are required to attend for the entire duration on the dates registered.

You can find more information on the different course pathways for Union activists in this document.

Registration is limited. To ensure a faster registration process, use our online registration system

Alternatively, you can call 1-800-232-7284 or email

Intro to Your Union

  • January 18 - February 1
  • March 29 - April 14
  • May 17 - May 31

Intro to OHS

  • February 8 - February 23
  • April 19 - May 3


All webinars will open on January 18 and run until the end of June

  • Masks 101
  • Right to Refuse
  • Green New Deal


All four sectors are running from January 4, 2019 to January 4, 2022

Online course registration tool

Visit the online course registration system to create an account and/or register for AUPE courses

AUPE staff contact
AUPE staff contact


The AUPE Education Department facilitates and oversees courses, workshops and other education and learning opportunities for the AUPE membership.


Toll-free phone1-800-232-7284