October 25, 2011

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Leaders hone their skills


Downstate Medical Center Chapter delegate Henry Flax, left, and Buffalo Center Chapter delegate Kim Behun raise their hands during a workshop about the UUP contract. The union members attended the “Know Your Contract” workshop, one of five seminars offered in the 2011 Fall Leadership Training Program.

The two-day event, held Oct. 21-22 in Cooperstown and run simultaneously with UUP’s Chapter Presidents and Vice Presidents Retreat, drew more than 60 chapter leaders and UUPers taking that first step toward a leadership role.

That’s one of the reasons why Cortland Chapter webmaster Esa Merson enrolled in the “Communicating through Newsletters and Websites” workshop. Merson, who is not a union delegate, has small children and can’t dedicate the amount of time she feels is necessary to be an effective leader.

But she wanted to contribute, and signing on as Cortland’s chapter webmaster allowed her to achieve that.

“I feel that UUP does a lot of good work and I wanted to be a part of that,” she said. “(Being webmaster) is a way to participate.”

For Stony Brook delegate Jarvis Watson, being a chapter leader is a means to affect positive change on campus and in the community.

“Nothing’s going to happen if you just sit by and do nothing,” said Watson, who signed up for the “Know Your Contract” seminar. “As Ghandi said, `be the change you want to see.’”

More than 110 UUPers attended the event, which included a general session and an update on the union’s contract negotiations with the state. The workshops included “Building a More Perfect Union: Our Labor Heritage,” “Civility in the Workplace,” and “Forums for Problem Solving.”

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