New 247 President carries legacy forward

After three decades of activism, UFCW Canada Local 247 President Suzanne Hodge is more certain than ever that collective bargaining is the best way to build fairness and equality in the workplace.

“We have to make sure that workers are represented at every level of the decision making process, and that and their voices are heard at work, and in the community,” says Hodge, who in accordance with Local 247’s constitution and bylaws, was recently elected by the Executive Board to serve the balance of President Gib Whitlock’s term. Brother Whitlock, one of the union’s most respected and longest-serving officers, passed away in November 2010.

Suzanne Hodge first became a member of UFCW Canada when she began working as a cashier for Safeway in December 1975.  In 1982 she was elected to the UFCW Canada Local 1518 executive board and also worked for Local 1518 as temporary staff.  Then in 1991, she joined the UFCW Canada National Office as an International Representative assigned to British Columbia. Three years later she joined UFCW Canada Local 777 as a staff representative, and a year later became Assistant to the President (Brother Whitlock).

UFCW Canada Local 777 and UFCW Canada Local 2000 merged to become UFCW Canada Local 247, where Sister Hodge was elected Secretary-Treasurer in 2006. Now as President, Sister Hodge leads a Local Union with more than 14,000 members.

“We have a strong membership and a strong staff to serve them, thanks to Gib Whitlock’s three decades of leadership and dedication to the members,” says Sister Hodge. “We intend to carry on Gib’s legacy to promote and defend workplace democracy, and the rights and needs of the membership.”