SRU residence life member to give presentation on unions in Africa

Published by adviser, Author: Rebecca Koch - Rocket Contributor , Date: November 8, 2016
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A member of residence life at SRU will be giving a presentation about organizations and unions in Africa on Nov. 16.

Justin Kleemook, assistant director of residence life, will be presenting “Built Upon Relationships: Your Union’s Source of Power and Progress” at the Education International Conference. The conference represents 400 education unions and associations around the globe in 172 countries. The presentation will be two hours long and will be on November 16 in Ghana, Africa.

Kleemook’s presentation is about connecting with people who may not be full members of a union within an organization and how to try to get those people to become full members of the union. The presentation is also about relationships outside of the union and how it interacts with management or the institution at large.

Kleemook said a lot of education and training went into developing the presentation. He said he applied to the National Education Association’s Emerging Leaders Academy, which was a three-week program. The first week was in Washington, D.C, the second in Florida and the third in San Diego. The program included looking at union building, relationships, trying to unionize a campus that was completely un-unionized and then sharing how that organizing event went.

After the three weeks, Kleemook and another member were asked to prepare a presentation to take to Ghana.

“I’m actually co-presenting with a graphic designer from Bates Technical College in Tacoma, Washington,” Kleemook said.

Kleemook said that unions give a sense of fairness.

“For me, it’s about equality and about having rights,” Kleemook said. “It’s kind of like a lifeboat, a support system. It’s almost a family and I think that’s what gets lost about the union movement. In its essence, the union is about a sense of family and being mindful of your colleagues.”

Kleemook said he hopes the presentation improves the perception of unions and will help inspire current unions and those thinking of creating one.

“I think the better use of a union is building the camaraderie, the family atmosphere from the beginning, so that people know they are not alone in their work environment,” Kleemook said.

He said that he hopes to gain new knowledge while taking part in the conference, including networking and hearing other people’s experiences.

“I’m really a student at heart so anyway I can learn I choose to engage in that,” Kleemook said.

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