This handbook is designed to help unions negotiate literacy and basic skills programs for their members. It is intended for those just starting to consider the possibility of bargaining for a literacy program. It is also for those unions which already have language on training but are seeking to add a basic skills component.
This handbook is part of the Learning in Solidarity series of CLC resources on various aspects of literacy and basic skills for unions.
We have tried to cover most of the bases as far as literacy and basic skills bargaining are concerned. But in the end, the point we would like to emphasize is that bringing in a literacy program is not only an important way to serve and reach out to our members, but that the process need not be too difficult or time consuming.
The keys to success are: listening to your members, knowing about other successful union programs, exploring the needs of your workplace and industry, and making literacy programs a part of your overall bargaining strategy. Educating and mobilizing your membership around the need for basic skills will ensure that you have the best chances of winning.
Basic skills is a relatively low cost item compared to many other issues on the bargaining agenda. It is also one which is an essential foundation for other education and training programs.
This handbook is divided into five sections. The first section, Six Good Reasons to Bargain Basic Skills, examines very briefly why unions should become involved in bargaining basic skills. It shows why basic skills have become a key issue for today's unions.