Unity leads to growth for EPC

St. John’s recently played host to over 100 member-activists, officers and staff from the UFCW Canada National Office and Eastern Province’s Council (EPC) who met in Newfoundland from March 28 to 30 to take part in a historic conference for the union.  The choice of location was fitting as it was the first EPC Convention to include UFCW Canada’s Newfoundland membership, who joined the regional council earlier this year.

For the first time in over 25 years, delegates from every UFCW Canada local union in the Atlantic Region officially came together to share experiences and discuss the issues facing members and non-organized workers in Eastern Canada.

“From the position of solidarity, unity and collective bargaining, the inclusion of Newfoundland into the EPC is the best use of the union’s resources and the most effective way to serve the membership,” says EPC President Mark Dobson, who also serves UFCW Canada as regional director for the Atlantic Provinces. “By coordinating the efforts of national staff and all UFCW Canada local unions in the region we gain a better ability to serve the needs of our members and promote the growth initiative that will strengthen our union.”

The enhanced level of coordination in the region has already produced significant results for the EPC and the union as a whole. Since the EPC convention convened last month, the regional growth team has added two additional wins to a string of organizing victories. The two new UFCW Canada bargaining units are Scotia Recycling in Kentville, N.S., (as mentioned in DIRECTIONS X No. 14), and most recently a group of food service workers at Embassy Halls, an assisted living facility in Fredericton, N.B. The Embassy Halls win marks the EPC’s third organizing victory this year in the elder care industry.

“The essence of the One Union, One Voice program is to build on past achievements in organizing, collective bargaining, and servicing by combining and coordinating our efforts in those three vital areas and other aspects of trade unionism. The EPC has fully committed itself to that program for the future, and the members are already reaping the benefits of greater collaboration,” says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley who attended the conference, and is pictured above swearing in the new EPC executive board, as elected by the delegates.

Pictured from left to right, National President Hanley; EPC executive board: Mark Dobson, president; Pam Butt, vice-president; Gary Tracey, executive-vice president; Dwayne Earle, vice-president; Jean Guimond, vice president; Bev Dobson, vice president; Mike Spears, vice president; Terry Carter, secretary treasurer; Craig Walsh, recorder; Bob Rafuse, vice president; Keith Northrup, vice president; absent, Deborah Milton, vice president.

Vol. X No. 17 • May 3, 2010