This framework has been drafted for use in instances where joint union-employer learning initiatives are being considered at national, regional and/or local levels. It is recognized that both parties will continue to design and deliver learning programs to meet their unique needs.
This is a document that should be used to guide initial discussions around joint learning initiatives. The framework provides key elements that are likely to come up in your discussions. It is expected that the details regarding the application of these elements will be worked out by the parties on a case by case basis. This framework was developed to encourage and promote more joint learning initiatives and it is in no way meant to constrict or constrain on-going work in this area.
Joint learning initiatives will take place in various models and formats depending on the desired outcomes. The parties should have the flexibility to design and deliver programs that meet their common needs. A joint learning initiative will be defined together by the parties and must meet their common goals, missions and learning objectives. The process is characterized by both parties having an equal voice in consensus decision-making and equal ownership of the outcomes. This means that the content and delivery of joint learning initiatives must be fully agreed to by both parties or it cannot be considered joint.
The joint development and delivery of workplace learning places the focus on the needs and perspectives of both parties and formally recognizes where their missions and values are complementary. This is achieved through the sharing of resources with an emphasis on broadening the opportunities for participants while fostering a climate of mutual trust and respect.
During the joint process of planning, developing and delivering joint learning initiatives, respectful communication needs to take place between and about the parties involved at all times.
Both parties in a joint learning initiative share a common understanding and commitment to the objectives of a joint endeavor.
With full agreement of both the bargaining agent and the employer, a third party may enter into the partnership. In this situation the "third" party would respect this framework.
Working together involves active participation by both parties to reach consensus decisions and agreement on processes for resolving an impasse.
Currently established union/management structures at the local, regional and national levels should be used to identify possible joint learning projects. - i.e. Union Management Consultation (UMC).
A joint learning initiative implies an equal voice in decision-making where both parties agree that they can bring something of value to the project. This may not necessarily result in a 50/50 distribution of work and resources by both parties.
The learning objectives and content of a joint learning initiative should represent a balance of both bargaining agent and employer perspectives. On a project by project basis, parties should obtain agreement on responsibilities for all aspects of the project including; communication strategies, curriculum development, delivery place and time, method of delivery, facilitators, participant selection, materials, seats and selection criteria, learning and travel time, etc.
Where appropriate, joint learning initiatives will be offered in both English and French. This includes all documents disseminated as part of a learning program.
All joint learning initiatives will be referred to as such, highlighting the "joint" aspect and emphasizing the partnership between the bargaining agents and the employer.
In advance of distribution, the content of communiqués regarding joint learning should be agreed upon by both parties.
LEARNING AS PART OF OUR WORK
Participation in joint learning initiatives should be considered part of an employee's work. This includes,
- where applicable, joint learning should occur during the learners' working hours at or near their workplace;
- opportunities for the learners to put what is learned into practice in the workplace;
- the understanding that learning time is incorporated in the workplan.
RESPECTING THE LEARNER
Adults learn in different ways. This means that joint programs that respect the learners' will respond to their intellectual, emotional and physical needs.
As part of a learning activity participants should be provided with an opportunity to translate what they have learned into practical action.
The parties will endeavor to build a safe and respectful learning environment
(i.e. presenting the anti-harassment policy, etc...)
Joint learning initiatives should be inclusive and respect the diversity of the workplace. This should be reflected in all aspects of design and participation.
All groups of employees, working all types of hours in various locations should have access to joint learning initiatives.
Proactive measures need to be in place to accommodate persons with disabilities.
The balance between work and family obligations needs to be respected.
Both parties share responsibility for creating joint learning initiatives.
Together, the parties need to put vehicles in place for discussion with learners about their learning needs.
The planning and development of a joint learning project is as important as its delivery. Good planning includes:
- setting aside dates far enough in advance to allow sufficient time for joint work;
- earmarking resources;
- ensuring availability of learners;
- providing enough time for development; and
- providing enough time to encourage broad participation.
Criteria for Selection of Facilitators
The parties need to discuss and agree on facilitator selection and criteria; keeping in mind such things as:
- skills necessary for facilitating in an adult learning environment;
- knowledge of the learning issue being addressed;
- being representative of the diversity of the workplace, and
- the compatibility of co-facilitators, where applicable.
Ownership of Materials
Both parties must respect the ownership rights of learning materials that have been developed separately. Conversely, all learning materials that are jointly developed by the parties must be recognized as a joint product. The developers of learning materials must mutually agree and consent to the circumstances of their use.
Joint learning initiatives should be revisited on a case-by-case basis to ensure the content is updated and reflects the reality of a constantly changing workplace.
Both parties should take responsibility in evaluating:
(a) whether or not there are distinct benefits due to the jointness of the process, and
(b) whether or not their learning objectives have been met.