The Norwegian Union of Social Educators and Social Workers (FO) is a voluntary Professional Association and Trade Union with about 31 000 members.
The Association recruits Social Workers (sosionomer), Child Care Workers (barnevernspedagoger), Social Educators (vernepleiere) and Welfare Officers (velferdsarbeidere). Members of these professions have at least post-graduate education at Bachelor level. We are also accepting students to the professions as members. FO was formed in November 1992 as a fusion of separate associations/unions.
Most of the members of FO work in the public sector. Of these, the majority are employed by the municipalities; in Social Services, Child Care, Rehabilitation and Home-based Care. Also, a significant number of members are state employees, working in Hospitals, Psychiatric institutions, Child Care Institutions etc. FO also has a growing number of members in private institutions and NGOs.
Being both a Professional Association and a Trade Union, our activities varies from wage negotiations and work-place activities, via lobbying on matters concerning Social policy, to activities to promote professional Social Work and Social Education. The Association has branches with offices and full-time employees in all 11 counties of Norway. In addition we have several full-time and part-time shop stewards in the bigger municipalities and institutions.
The highest body of FO is the Congress, held every fourth year and comprising delegates from the 11 branches, student delegates and the outgoing National leadership.