The first Organizing As a Steward training “sold out” – more planned

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Aarica Burke attended the Organizing as a Steward Training

Forty MAPE stewards participated in the first Organizing As a Steward training on May 10 and the event was so successful two other trainings are planned. Stewards learned how to move non-grievance issues into action by engaging membership and utilizing common methods of organizing.  

The purpose of this first session was to help stewards understand how movements of the past have organized people, ideas and resources to affect change. Stewards also learned how to plan and implement issue campaigns and direct actions in the workplace.  

 “The goal was to start utilizing the power that our stewards have. They are the face of MAPE for a lot of our members and people know them as leaders. They are engaged in doing the work already through their knowledge of the contract language, this was another way to utilize our stewards in a different way,” MAPE Vice President Angie Halseth said.  

The training was a collaboration between the Employee Rights Committee and the Organizing Council.  

“There was good news and bad news: we had to turn people away. The room was packed and the engagement was great. It was fun to see so many newer stewards. People participated and talked – it was very heartwarming to see people’s level of excitement. It struck me how important the work in our union is,” Halseth said.  

“The Organizing Council did a great job keeping people engaged,” Halseth added.   

Aarica Burke, a steward and temporary treasurer for Local 1601, said she “loved the initial training and history of union experience. It can be easy to lose sight of the content. Since I’ve been a steward and have better insight into how things work, it’s helped me to connect with my members and other members around the state.”   

“The big thing I’m going to take back, and I want to do, is more outreach and engagement and check in with our members and see how they’re doing and what their individual issues are,” Burke said.  

She said she enjoyed talking with members from across the state about membership “and what was working in different locals – it gave us ideas to try and now I have a name and face to contact with follow-up questions.” 

Burke most recently worked in government in Idaho, a right-to-work state. “The benefit of being a member of MAPE is very clear to me. I cannot sing the praises of MAPE enough! We are a very pro-union family,” she added.  

Registration is open for the next Organizing As a Steward Trainings (OST) scheduled for Sept. 13 and Nov. 1.