February 7, 2012

CHAMPAIGN-URBANA (Feb. 7)—UTU Local #432 Legislative Representative Grady Crippin has been named a member of the Labor Education Advisory Board recently established by the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois.

Crippin, 38, of St. Joseph, will become part of a panel that will advise the School’s Labor Education Program (LEP) on how it can meet the educational and training needs of labor-union officers.

“The program has been around since 1946,” said LEP Director Robert Bruno. “We’ve been training labor-union officers on matters like organizing, workers’ rights, labor law, collective bargaining, union administration, arbitration—anything they need to know in order to serve their members and increase their membership.”

Bruno said the LEP historically has been an outreach program that brings in union officers for short courses and workshops as well as six-week training courses that result in certification in a specialty.

“But now it’s also an undergraduate program,” he said. “We have students at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana who are taking 3-credit classes in Global Labor Studies.”

The new board is scheduled to hold its first meeting February 17 at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Hall in Bloomington.

“It’s going to be an honor to represent the UTU on the Board,” said Crippin, who has ten years of service as a Champaign-based conductor with Canadian National Railway.

“What the LEP is trying to do is get regular input from union people on what they need to improve their professional qualifications,” he said. “I’m going to do my best to contribute to that process.”

UTU State Legislative Director Robert W. Guy, who designated Crippin to represent the UTU on the panel, said that this opportunity is another example of the Illinois Legislative Board’s desire to develop and educate its members on the local level.

“While contributing his experience and ideas to the new Labor Education Advisory Board, Grady will be picking up valuable lessons and examples that will enable him to be a more effective local leader,” Guy said. “His service also will also allow the UTU to have direct impact and input on how the Labor Education Program addresses issues that affect railroad workers.”