The SEIU-West Education Committee sponsored four members to attend the SFL Spring School and the members that attended were excited to share their reports as follows:

Vanessa Keller:

Thank you for choosing me to attend the SFL/CLC Spring School on April 2-6, 2023 in Moose Jaw. I enjoyed my experience and all the events that came along with the Spring School such as: meeting new brothers, sisters, and comrades and reconnecting with ones that I met at the SFL Conference in Regina last year, the session that I attended (Transforming Conflict into Union Activism), the meals, the banquet, the group performances that were shared on Wednesday night, and the hotel and the mineral pool.

I was very fortunate and grateful to be one of the four SEIU-West members that was sponsored and will use all that I learned at the Spring School in my future work practices as well as one day as a Shop Steward for my facility.  I enjoyed expanding my knowledge and communication skills in learning how to better deal with difficult situations that happen on a daily basis. I also liked all the interaction that the came along with the course. Every one of these conferences/events are helping me better myself coming out of my shell by making me more confident so that I can help improve my workplace and benefit the coworkers that I work with or cross paths with. There were a lot of discussions, interactions and role play that happened at the Spring School. I appreciate that when attending an event like this that there is a no judgement zone, making a person feel more comfortable so that you can learn from everyone’s experiences on how to make your workplace a better place and come up with new ideas as a group. Conflict, depending on how it is dealt with, can impact the way a situation works out, either positively or negatively.

Once again thank you for choosing me to attend Spring School and I hope that I am selected again in the near future so I can further my knowledge in different Union matters.

Katie Stad:

I was invited to a spring school learning expo with Canadian Labour Congress and Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. This event was held at the Temple Garden Spa in Moose Jaw, Sk.

The course I was in was Transforming Conflict into Union Activism. The teachers were great at explaining what was all in the course manual.

There were a lot of group discussions in the course from everyone who had come across different situations at their current job or a previous job, and how they were able to discuss how they came about the outcome of the situations.

We were all divided into groups to go over the course manual to do skill testing.

My take home from the course is knowing my rights as a leader and a union representative on how I am able to help my fellow workers in my department/facility when problems have come about.

Who what, where when, why, were all factors on how we as union leaders need to ask the right questions, to get the conflict resolved in a timely manner.

How to prioritize conflict: Encouraging the speaker by

  • listening
  • watching their body language
  • asking open-ended questions
  • taking good notes
  • restating their key points
  • acknowledging their emotions, values and interests 

Everyone should be treated equally and fairly, we all need to help eliminate violence for everyone, regardless of age, race, religion, ability, sex, gender identity and gender expression. Unions can help educate members so that all workplaces are welcoming and inclusive.

Tatyana Ring: 

I can't put into words how great and special of a week it was for me to be around so many strong and like-minded people and friends. Especially with living in one of the little out of the way, way away from the major city centers, it can get really discouraging feeling alone in the crowd, or running around spreading truth about workers' rights and freedoms to a group that is often more negative about many union things. 

So thank you very much for this experience! 

I took Labour Law, and I am going to be honest, I really did not enjoy it. It did have a few nuggets I especially appreciated.

I had the expectation that this course would have information that we would need to use in our practical lives as stewards etc. and that it would contain a basic structure of the standard labour laws of Canada and Saskatchewan.

But what it was, was mostly very specific about what happens, particularly inside a court room in arbitration. While good to know, is not likely to happen that the floor stewards would be directly responsible for deciding what happens to and with all grievances and how far those are taken.

We did have a guest for a morning come into cover Duty to Accommodate, which was really great and very helpful!

All of that being said I did have a great time and enjoyed my time. 

So all in all...

Thank you for allowing me to take part in this great collection on amazing and inspiring people, I am returning home inspired by every one of our members present and all the other union members and their own perseverance and dedication to a better future for workers and society as whole. 

There is no better way to describe all of them and us than that we ARE making the change we want to see in the world!

Love, light and peace 


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