Training & Education
Education plays an enormous role in creating strong social unions which founded Unifor. The Education Department offers extensive and informative labour education programs, located at your Local along with the Unifor Education Centre in Port Elgin. Unifor offers courses on a variety of subjects, ranging in length from 1 day to 4 weeks. Our education programs aim to provide members with a perspective on the development of unions, as well as teaching skills and strategies developed by our members which emphasize the importance of solidarity. The strength of our future is not only at the bargaining table or the picket line, but also in the classroom. Given the importance of education, we recommend to all of our bargaining units that contract proposals include paid education leave.
The Paid Education Leave program (PEL) is a fund negotiated by the Union in collective bargaining with employers. A lump sum or cents-per-hour is negotiated with the employer. This fund supports union-developed and union-delivered courses at the Unifor Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario. At our founding convention, delegates passed a resolution making bargaining PEL a priority.
Over 40 courses are offered at the Unifor Education Centre in Port Elgin. Most courses are one week in length. We also hold a four-week core program. A schedule is published twice a year.
All costs that would normally be covered under the PEL program include: room and board, lost wages (up to 40 hours), mileage (if the participant drives to the program), per diem and child care subsidy if applicable. For those who fly, costs involved in travel are also split (e.g. flights, mileage to/from the airport, taxi to/from the airport, airport parking). All of these are covered in accordance with the PEL bylaws.
PEL is typically bargained two ways: either as a cents-per-hour amount (per employee), or a fixed dollar amount (per year or per contract). The preferred way is cents-per-hour. Among those with a cents-per-hour payment, the average is about 3 cents per member per hour worked.