By: Donielle Powe
The Field Services Specialists attended a training sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in St. Charles, Illinois from June 18- June 21 to hone their union and professional skills at Great Lakes Union Leadership Institute (ULI). During this popular summer training program, the Field staff participated in a course which focused on aggressive representation of members through the grievance procedure including arbitration. This training taught the Field Team how to better manage members’ expectations, how to conduct thorough investigations for contractual disputes on behalf of the membership, how to prepare for arbitration including witness preparation, evidence gathering and how to debate persuasively with an arbitrator.
This training will be beneficial to the WTU membership because a big part of the Field staff’s duties in advocating for the members is fighting contractual violations by DCPS and representing the members throughout the grievance procedure as outlined in the collective bargaining agreement. During this training the Field Team collaborated with other Union leaders including AFT executive leaders, on strategies and insights on how to best address membership concerns. With this training and the Field staff’s legal background, members will benefit from better representation as well as more realistic expectations of their rights as outlined in the collective bargaining agreement.