Ok, now let’s bring you back from being an infant and back into the present. Imagine now you have been a “rank and file” union member for several years. Your union is about to hold elections for leadership offices and you decide to run. The votes are counted. You have been elected business manager of your union. Congratulations! Next week starts the beginning of contract negotiations and globalization is here. Guess What? You have just been set up for failure. You have no idea how to negotiate a contract or even deal with the ramifications of globalization. The only training you have ever had was the necessary training to do your job.
Frantically you turn to your brother and sister union leaders. They inform you the only education they have is from the “trial and error” experiences of the past. They have no new ideas, and their thoughts have stagnated, let alone know how to deal with the problems globalization has presented. What is going to happen with your union?
Unfortunately this has been the norm of unions for years. They seem to provide only enough training to get by, or even have no training at all. With all these years of status quo there is one thing for certain, unions cannot continue to operate in a “trial and error” learning environment. This is why it is important that an education program in the union should be of top priority in the 21st century and to continue well into the 22nd cen...
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...but also be pro-active in self-education in reference to certificate, diploma, and degree programs as well as new innovative teaching techniques available. They also need to be accepting and instrumental in working with other unions. All union members must have continual on-going education. “Without education formulated specifically for working people, organized labor would continue to lose ground to the superior knowledge and training of management.” (Samson, 1991, p. 58)
Education has to become the top priority in every union. This is the only way the unions are going to survive; is by building a solid foundation, along with a solid structure of education, and by continually being pro-active in new technology, innovation, as well as local and international affairs. Otherwise, you will see how failure is set into motion and extinction becomes the inevitable.
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