How Unions Can Help Workers Reskill for the Future

In the age of information and technology, it can sometimes feel like the world around us is changing at the speed of light. While some innovations have made our lives so much easier, there have also been developments that can cause worry for workers as companies and workplaces evolve, leaving them wondering whether their skills that have been valuable in the past will stay that way. This is where trade unions are working for those who want to continue to grow in their career and maintain job security, even when things change at work. In Alberta, Teamsters 987 is well positioned to work with both employers and workers to ensure everyone understands how and why retraining is the best way to adapt workplaces to be more efficient and effective with the new tools and skillsets at their disposal.

Job training is good for employers

Part of the role Teamsters 987 plays in protecting its members is to ensure that employers and employees alike understand the importance of training as a win for everyone. Even as the skills required to do a certain job may change with advancements in technology, for employers, it is in their best interest to re-skill or up-skill their current employees rather than trying to hire new ones. In many cases, the human resource costs associated with replacing workers outweigh the time and money it takes to provide training on new technology and tools for the people they already employ. Since unions have the knowledge of their members as well as industry trends, they can help guide employers in identifying the skills that exist within their workforce and help them to design programs that help workers expand their knowledge and capabilities on the job.

Job training is good for workers

Many members of Teamsters Local 987 are skilled trades workers, and for these roles, higher paying positions are posted by seniority. Even as companies shift some parts of how they do business, members with seniority are offered priority in being retrained with advanced training to keep their skills current amidst the changes. This is referred to as “up-skilling” and it offers the opportunity for workers to progress in their company and careers.

The same goes for any union member looking to apply for better paying roles that may use a company’s newly implemented technology, through what is called “re-skilling.” Learning new tools and processes through re-skilling shows resilience and ambition and can lead to greater job security, even in changing times.

How Teamsters helps

For workers, staying on top of these educational opportunities on the job is crucial. Your Teamsters 987 business agent or shop steward can help you do that by offering advice and information on what programs are currently available and might be coming up soon. Conversations with your Teamsters representatives also help them to better understand the skills of their members, which they can in turn communicate with employers, giving everyone a better picture of the skillsets already available within the existing workforce.

Perhaps the most important role Teamsters plays in this process is to act as a voice for their members when it comes to ensuring retraining is prioritized over replacing employees. While many employers recognize the benefits of retraining their employees, Teamsters 987 can ensure that these programs are negotiated into collective bargaining agreements, which further protects Teamsters members from losing their jobs when companies shift job requirements because of adopting new technology.

It’s always a good idea to let your Teamsters 987 representative know if you are interested in retraining so that they can be prepared to help you when an opportunity arises.

Ready to learn more and further your education? Teamsters 987 offers a Scholarship to our members and immediate dependent children to financially support our members in furthering their education. Click here to learn more.

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