NUPGE's 12th Leadership School: 'All together now!'

Making strategic choices during challenging times was a key theme of the NUPGE's 2010 Leadership Development School.

Ottawa (27 Aug. 2010) - The participants in the 12th annual Leadership Development School of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) have proven the depth and wealth of experience and expertise that exists within the union and the broader labour movement.

School participants jumped wholeheartedly into the challenging week-long course by engaging in thoughtful debate about every topic facing unions. The school was held Aug. 21-27 at the Elmhirst Resort on the north shore of Rice Lake, just outside Peterborough.

NUPGE 2010 Leadership School participants

1st row: James Clancy (NUPGE), Lori Elmore (AFSCME), Mark Barrett (PEIUPSE/NUPGE), Derek Fudge (NUPGE).
2nd row: Rose Marie de Villers (NSGEU/NUPGE), Mary Ellen Cassey(OPSSU/OPSEU/NUPGE), Diane Mark (MGEU/NUPGE).
3rd row: Angela Mahlmann (BCGEU/NUPGE), Fran Borsellino (OPSEU/NUPGE), Corrine Stott (UNISON), Tina Vuckovic (SGEU/NUPGE), Kimball Finigan (HSABC/NUPGE).
4th row: Sean Wilson (OPSEU/NUPGE), Michel Henselmann (SGEU/NUPGE), Tory Toblin (HSAA/NUPGE).
5th row: Joe Johannesson (MGEU/NUPGE), David Streb (BCGEU/NUPGE),  Steve Stott (UNISON).
6th row:, Al Mullin (NBUPPE/NUPGE), Carla Dempsey (BCGEU/NUPGE), Andy Pederson (NSGEU/NUPGE), Ann Wallace (OPSEU/NUPGE).
7th row:  Helen Hrynchak (SGEU/NUPGE), Patrice Kelly (SGEU/NUPGE), Pat Honsberger (OPSEU/NUPGE).
Missing: Archana Mathew (OPSEU/NUPGE), Mandy Goodwin (HSAA/NUPGE), Suzanne Schiltz (HSABC/NUPGE), Janice Morrison (HSABC/NUPGE), Carolyn Carter (NBUPPE/NUPGE).

 NUPGE's Larry Brown with Elaine Bernard
 James Laxer with NUPGE's Derek Fudge
Veena Verma with NUPGE proclamation on
Quality Public Services and Fair Taxes

Every year the school, which dates back to 1998, sees its numbers grow. This year, 26 senior elected officers and staff from NUPGE and its Component unions attended. In addition, there were two participants and presenters from international unions – AFSCME (U.S.) and UNISON (U.K.)

Other presenters included:

  • Michael Lynk, professor of law at the University of Western Ontario.
  • Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, Director, International Labour Organization (ILO).
  • Veena Verma, a lawyer and consultant working on human rights, labour and international law.
  • Elaine Mejia, Senior Program Associate, Demos, a U.S.-based institute that promotes the value of public services.
  • Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
  • Nora Spinks, President, Work-Life Harmony Enterprises.

Strong leadership through difficult times

The school's core focus are lectures by Elaine Bernard, executive director of the Trade Union Program at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. During a series of six seminars participants focus on two central themes: leadership and organizational change and strategic choices for union leaders.

Presentations by James Clancy, NUPGE president, and James Laxer, one of Canada’s leading progressive political thinkers, examined the most recent economic crisis and the important role that government and public services must play in ensuring a sustainable recovery.

The continuing economic downturn demonstrates exactly how and why we must work together to preserve the caring fabric of our country. As NUPGE's next major campaign will show this is best articulated through our support for public services, paid for through the public tax system, to directly impact and improve the equality of citizens. All school speakers signed the NUPGE proclamation on Quality Public Services and Tax Fairness.
Graduate total rises

James Clancy, president of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)James Clancy noted that over the past 12 years there have been over 275 graduates of the Leadership Development School.

"The last several years have been a great struggle for our members due to the financial crisis,” Clancy said.

“Our union leaders must have the tools to understand and strategically respond to new opportunities and deal with mounting challenges. This school is intended to help facilitate this process. I am continually impressed by the thoughtfulness and commitment of our participants. Our union benefits from the intelligence and energy of these trade unionists who play a leadership role in the National Union and our Components.”

Bernard said one of the benefits of the school is that it provides an opportunity for union leaders to step out of busy daily routines and analyze a range of important issues.

"These activists are seizing a rare opportunity to enhance the work they do by committing to NUPGE’s Leadership Development School,” she noted. "The National Union and its Components are strengthened through their energy and skill to represent your membership and make real change in the broader political environment.”


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE