"Members participate more now in monthly meetings and get more involved in what's happening in their trade, as well as more involved in union activities."Local executive member
After you have made an initial list, think about how to explain this to someone in your local. You have a list of reasons, but you may not be able to articulate them yet. It may be helpful to go over Section 1 where we discussed why unions should get involved. Thinking through your reasons and arguments can help you to be clear when you promote the idea of a literacy program.
Talk with members of your local executive and set some time at a meeting or other forum to have a full discussion. The objective at this point is to get more people working with you. Even if the local is not sure whether to take action, you can, at a minimum, get a group together to explore the issue further.
You are looking for members who are interested in the issue of literacy. They need to have the time and energy and be likely to remain involved. These members don't have to be experienced activists. In many cases literacy has sparked the interest of members who haven't held leadership positions or been very active in the union. If possible, it's a good idea to have at least one person who is already involved with education and training. Remember, you want to be able to link your program to the on going work of the union and to other aspects of workplace training, making it part of your response to workplace change.
The first task for the planning group is to prepare an information package. You want material you can show to union activists (including those from other local sat your work site) and to your employer to raise their awareness about literacy issues and get their support for a program. Remember to present literacy in its broadest form so everyone understands your vision from the start.
This handbook is a good beginning. The stories and quotes from participants, instructors, labour leaders, and employers can help you illustrate the impact of literacy programs. You can use some of the program profiles to show what they can look like. Use the contact list to get more information. There may be unions or central labour bodies in your region already involved with literacy. Your own union, labour council, or federation of labour may have a program planned or in place. Check with your local representative or contact the main office. You can get flyers, videos, and other material from them to help with promotion. They can also be a great source of support. Invite them to your planning group meeting.
Find a name for your program that will spark the interest of your members. The term literacy of ten makes people think of illiteracy, and no one likes to think of themselves as illiterate. The program needs to be viewed as inclusive and non-threatening and the program name should reflect that notion. It can be as simple as "the workplace education program."