Formal and informal union education in the promotion of union democracy and activism
This paper draws on several years of research in Australia by the authors on a range of matters relating to union organising, growth and education to focus on critical issues for union education and training, particularly in relation to workplace delegates (also known in some contexts as workplace representatives or shop stewards). It draws on qualitative research involving focus groups with delegates and quantitative research from five surveys of delegates and organisers over a period of nine years. The key issues we investigate are: what is the relationship between formal and informal union education? In what ways does union training shape delegate activism? What matters most in union education? What aspects of union education succeed, or fail, in achieving union objectives?
International Industrial Relations Association 9th European Congress