When I first started working as an educator in the union movement a colleague, Dr Joce Jesson, introduced me to a book by unionist and educator Michael Newman, The Third Contract. Over the last seven years I've returned to this book and others by Newman time and time again. Based on his experiences and observations as a union educator Newman describes the potential of union education to engage and empower in a way that I find deeply insightful and inspirational. Newman examines the relationships of power in union education and challenges educators do the same. He argues that the real power of union education is unleashed when educators adopt a radical stance envisioning the union not as the organisation they work for but as the sum of it's members. The Third Contract is a must-read for anyone working in the field of union or social change education and is available as a free pdf download from Michael Newman's website.
Michael Newman will speak at the Australasian Union Educators Conference 24-26 November 2009.