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Labour School

AUPE Labour School is an annual labour and union education training school for AUPE members who have completed other courses and are active in their component.

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Labour School 2023: Solidarity is our Power

AUPE Labour School 2023 - Solidarity is our Power

We invite active members who have taken courses with AUPE to apply for Advanced Labour School 2023. The school runs March 5-9, 2023, at the Jasper Park Lodge.

The focus this year is "Solidarity is our Power" focusing on past solidarity actions that have built your union and encouraging each other to promote solidarity actions in the future. As workers you stand up for each other through action and inspire others to do the same.



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Courses offered to assist with your growing solidarity are listed below. To register, visit the registration webpage.

In 2017, Bill 30 caught up Alberta’s OHS system with other provinces. But in 2020, Bill 47 ran important parts of the OHS rules through the paper shredder. Now, we’re in a race to make sense of the tatters that leave our workplaces less safe, and that roll back compensation for injured workers. Are we up to today’s health and safety challenges? To reduce the disturbing rates of injury and occupational disease, you’ll need to promote your rights, make the most of your joint committee, bargain for safety…and even organize co-workers to take direct action.

Prerequisite: OH&S for Union Activists

This course is for members who want to:

  • Foster a culture of safety in the workplace
  • Deepen knowledge of OHS legislation and tools to resolve issues
  • Hone skills to participate effectively on joint health and safety committees
  • Organize co-workers to take workplace actions for safety

This course utilizes:

  • A homework assignment before coming to L/S
  • Body mapping,
  • Stories from working-class history
  • Videos, including case studies from AUPE's award-winning Careful, Safe, Intact video series
  • Readings and lectures
  • Short presentations
  • Public speaking and scenario role plays
  • Group discussions.

Learning outcomes:

  • Hold your employer accountable under Alberta's OHS legislation and resolve common health and safety issues constructively.
  • Participate actively as an onsite safety representative or member of a joint worksite OH&S committee (JWHSC).
  • Describe the limits of the internal responsibility system, and why you will need to file grievances bargain for safety and organize for safety.
  • Gather information and mobilize your co-workers to take action.

Creative action is Direct Action! Discover how to engage your co-workers through arts-based activism. This year’s course will focus on how to identify, strategize and execute action methods applicable to your workplace.

Prerequisite: Must be a Union Steward.

This course is for:

Members who are willing to learn through artistic participation to the fullest extent. While not required, those who play an instrument are encouraged to bring them.

This course utilizes:

  • Various forms of artistic expression, including singing, video, theatre and visual art.
  • AUPE case studies to demonstrate previous campaigns and highlight wide-ranging issues.
  • Direct action methods to enable execution of learned practices at the workplace.
  • A class presentation of the creations developed over the course (on the last night of Labour School, presented to all participants at Labour School).

Learning outcomes:

  • Discover how to develop messaging for direct action that focuses on workplace issues
  • Practice methods of artistic expression to bring concrete ideas for direct action back to workplace.
  • Using various art forms, create a group presentation to express what you have learned through the week, to be presented on the last evening of Labour School

Continuing Education for Stewards builds on the skills of grievance handlers and overall activists. This course provides practice of these skills through examination of case studies and discussion on direct action alternatives. Note: This is not an introductory course. 

Prerequisite: Must be a Union Steward

This course is for active union stewards who:

  • Have experience in handling grievances
  • Want to build their reading, writing and research skills
  • Want to practice presentation skills for grievance hearings and direct-action methods
  • Want to learn about Human Rights legislation and how to be able to identify and assist members who face discrimination at their workplace

This course utilizes:

  • Guest speakers
  • Case studies
  • Group work
  • Individual assignments
  • A homework assignment and a follow-up assignment

Learning outcomes:

  • Apply grievance handling steps
  • Demonstrate proficiency in completion of required grievance handling documents
  • Describe process for duty to accommodate
  • Recognize how different jurisdictions are applied to scenarios
  • Model appropriate behaviour in grievance hearings

Leadership in today’s rapidly changing world requires a dynamic set of both skills and personal attributes.  Challenges to effective leadership include a capacity for communication skills, respect, ethics, empathy, mentoring and relationship building. This interactive course will focus on both skill development in these areas and practical application of demonstrating “leadership.”

Prerequisite: Basic Conflict Management

This course is for:

Members interested in reflecting on their leadership style and enhancing their skills. Those willing to maybe step out of their comfort zone in order to learn more about themselves and what they can offer to leadership within AUPE.

This course utilizes:

  • Group work
  • Personal assessments
  • Case scenarios
  • Videos and guest speakers

Leaders take a stand and have a voice. Learners will have an opportunity for an individual five-minute leadership presentation using the communication and presentation skills developed in this course.

Learning outcomes:

  • Demonstrate self-reflection as it relates to leadership style
  • Recognize effective communication skills
  • Model and incorporate ethical practice
  • Correlate importance of relationship building
  • Assess motivations for leadership
  • Apply presentation skills developed through course

Unions are under attack because they are one of the only institutions powerful enough to stand up to runaway corporate greed and cuts to public services. Fighting back won’t be easy – Alberta has the lowest unionization rate in the country and the media amps up common misconceptions about organized labour. Workers are also divided by barriers to solidarity.

Prerequisite: Rethinking Politics (formerly Introduction to Politics) or Direct Action

This course is for:

  • Members who want to gain confidence, tools and practice having conversations that challenge negative stereotypes about labour.

This course utilizes:

  • A homework assignment
  • Group work, including story circles
  • Current data and research
  • Discussions with the Union’s Executive
  • Public speaking
  • A strong focus on inclusion, celebrating diversity, and overcoming barriers to solidarity

Learning outcomes:

  • Promote the benefits of unions, strong public services, and the value of your work.
  • Define union terms in order to “talk union.”
  • Explain why business and government often blame workers and attack their unions.
  • Start conversations to refine issues and learn from others.
  • Identify paths and resources to continue learning and mobilizing.