WELLS was founded in 2020 with the assistance of a donation intended to advance and expand labour education. The COVID 19 pandemic had shifted most adult education from classroom to on-line learning, and this seemed a perfect time to coordinate available training around workers’ rights to on-line platforms.
The idea was to allow participants to attend from anywhere, and to develop resources for both potential students and educators on a range of skill and knowledge-building topics.
The first step was to select and register the name WELLS, and to invite potential members to a first annual meeting (AGM) where the constitution and bylaws were approved, and three directors were elected: Stephen Von Sychowski, Joey Hartman, and Janet Patterson. As well, working groups were formed to develop plans for curriculum and enhanced learning experience.
We began with what was already well founded - the labour law and education program offered by the Vancouver and District Labour Council (VDLC). Program facilitators were invited to training sessions to learn how to use zoom as a teaching method, and how to convert their course materials to on-line offerings.
Courses were promoted and conducted using zoom for the remainder of 2020 and 2021, and once the COVID pandemic is over it is expected that there will be both classroom and on-line options.
In addition, WELLS hired a partnerships and projects coordinator, Justin Chen, in the summer of 2021 to develop a website, source materials and communicate with WELLS members to set out a path for the future. This includes identification of a range of labour education opportunities, how-to resources and downloadable materials.
The intention is to be the go-to source of credible and high-quality information for those in British Columbia and beyond who share our commitment to expanding labour education, unionization and workers’ rights.