August 17, 2010
Trade unionist on International Visitor Leadership Program

Prominent Vincentian trade unionist Elroy Boucher has been selected as a fellow for the upcoming International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) of the U.S Department of State.{{more}}

Boucher, who is the General Secretary of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Public Service Union, will participate in an IVLP on “Organized Labour in the U.S,” along with 11 other candidates from around the world, from August 23 until September 10, 2010.

The IVLP is the Department of State’s premier professional exchange programme. While there are different versions of the program based upon both profession and number of countries involved in a given programme, all have the objective of bringing together emerging leaders in their respective professions to learn how U.S. experts in these professions operate, and to share best practices with the other program fellows who hail from either the same world region and often the globe.

The ‘Organized Labor in the U.S.’ programme will focus on the impact of the U.S. labour movement on domestic and international economic, labor and trade policies. Additionally, participants will learn about the origins, history, operation and role of organized labor in U.S. society and get the chance to observe first-hand, the role of U.S. organized labor in the political, economic and social systems at federal, state and local levels. They will also interact with federal, state, business and labor union officials who will address the various perspectives of labor management relations in the public and private sector.

Boucher will travel the length and breadth of the United States during the course of the IVLP to engage in dialogue with these officials. His journey will start on the east coast in Washington D.C and then on to the Midwest, where he will visit either Omaha, Nebraska or Kansas City, Missouri.

Boucher and the other participants will then spend a week on the west coast in Los Angeles, California, where they will meet with officials of renowned labor union, United Farm Workers of America, to discuss the UFW’s work to combat wage slavery and help agricultural workers obtain legal protection. As Labor Day falls during the time frame of the IVLP, participants will also have the opportunity to attend the Long Beach Labour Coalition Parade.

The programme will then head back east for three days in Providence, Rhode Island. In Providence, they will meet with Central Falls School District Superintendent Frances Gallo, who made headlines last September when she fired all

of the teachers at Central Falls High School. Participants will get to hear both sides of the story from Gallo and the president of the Central Falls Teachers Union and discuss the negotiation process they went through to reach an agreement in May which allowed teachers to keep their jobs.