CUPE Newfoundland Labrador has 60 different employer groups representing over 6,000 workers. Local 1860 represents the workers at NLHC. The union has played a positive partnership role by supporting the development of the Train for Trades program. Approximately 60% of work at NHLC is contracted out, and as a result the union does not oppose the work that the youth are doing for NLHC. The basement retrofits specifically were continually put off by NLHC due to more emergent issues.
While in some ways this sounds like a minor role, it is a very key and important one. The union could have blocked the project from getting off the ground if they had been at risk of losing work themselves. Choice for Youth met with union staff and members several times to educate them about the project and developed a cooperative partnership that allows the work to go forward at no risk to the union.
The union represents “the working unions that youth who complete the Train for Trades program will be looking to join. CUPE’s support of the program, assistance during the training stages, and placement of youth following the program, have been vital to participant success and will continue to factor heavily in the long-term feasibility of Train for Trades” (Canadian Homelessness Research Network, 2013).
Homeless Hub Thoughts:
Developing solid partnerships are key to success. Train for Trades built their partnerships by providing upfront information and education about the types of youth their serve, the goals of the program and what the partnership would look like.
Partnerships add to the credibility and future sustainability of programs; this is particularly true for a new program. The visible show of support from others is often key to obtaining government grants.
CFY/T4T evolved their partnerships over the years as the program stabilized. For example, in the beginning NLHC provided all sub-contractors and supplies; T4T does this on their own now. But they do still provide support beyond what they would provide to a mainstream construction company. For example, during each neighbourhood project NLHC leaves one unit empty for T4T to use as their headquarters.
They have signed Memorandums of Understanding that outline the roles for each partner. This is very helpful in reducing confusion and conflict.