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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/2745

Title: Workers’ knowledge: an untapped resource in the labour movement
Authors: Livingstone, David W.
Roth, Reuben
Keywords: work and learning and the labour movement
unions
academic achievement
continuing education
employee attitudes
employer attitudes
employer employee relationships
informal education
job skills
labor force
nonformal education
off the job training
postsecondary education
quality of working life
member union relationships
union leadership
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: Centre for the Study of Education and Work, OISE/UT
Series/Report no.: NALL Working Paper;31
Abstract: This paper makes the argument that underestimation of the current range and depth of workers’ knowledge and skills by union leaders represents a significant barrier to further growth of the labour movement. Surveys and case studies conducted by the SSHRC research network on New Approaches to Lifelong Learning (NALL) have found that unionized and non-unionized industrial and service workers in Canada are increasingly highly educated, increasingly participating in adult education courses and devoting substantial amounts of their time to informal learning activities outside the purview of organized education and training programs. Working people are generally engaged collectively and individually in an extensive array of employment-related and other informal learning activities that are neither fully recognized by most employers or union leaders nor given prior learning credit by educational institutions. This paper will provide an empirical analysis of the schooling, further adult course participation and informal learning of organized and unorganized workers in different occupational classes across Canada and offer some in-depth profiles of workers’ learning activities based on a case study in a unionized auto plant with one of the most extensive worker education programs in the country. In light of the massive amount of informal learning among working people, the strong popular demand for access to advanced education and training programs, the increasingly widespread support for use of prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR) and the proliferation of accessible forms of information technology able to facilitate learning networks among workers, it is imperative for unions to address the growing learning interests of workers with more responsive and inclusive educational approaches and programs in order to enhance membership solidarity and attract new members. The major data sources are the first Canadian national survey of adults’ informal learning practices (N=1562) conducted in 1998 and field notes and interview transcripts drawn from participants in the auto plant case study of the Working Class Learning Strategies project conducted at five union locals in southern Ontario during the 1995-2000 period. Recommendations for future education programming strategies to facilitate union growth are based on what has worked most effectively in these locals of differing general organizational strength and demographic profiles (Authors' abstract)
URI: http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/depts/sese/csew/nall/res/31workers.pdf
http://hdl.handle.net/1807/2745
Appears in Collections:Centre for the Study of Education and Work (CSEW)

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