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Toronto – October 29, 2015 – UFCW Canada national and local union leaders recently gathered at the biannual UFCW Canada National Council meeting held in Toronto. The meeting primarily focused on our union's growth efforts for 2015 and beyond, as well as UFCW Canada's work to end violence against women and our union's involvement in the 2015 Federal Election.
The National Council members explored some of UFCW Canada's major organizing victories this year, including recent breakthroughs at the Hampton Inn & Suites hotel in Markham, Ontario; the Super C grocery store in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec; and the Kaybob Lodge in Foxcreek, Alberta. The UFCW leadership also discussed ongoing unionization campaigns throughout the country – including the national Sobeys initiative – and explored cutting-edge strategies for strengthening our union going forward.
In addition, the National Council welcomed Debora De Angelis, UFCW Canada's National Coordinator for Strategic Campaigns, to discuss the UFCW Women's Committee's work to end violence against women in Canada.
To commemorate the International Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, UFCW Canada is partnering with the Peel Committee Against Woman Violence to organize a Shoe Memorial honouring the 14 women who lost their lives in the December 6, 1989 massacre at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal.
Sister De Angelis explained that, as part of the Shoe Memorial, UFCW Canada's National Office, Local Unions, staff, and members are being asked to collect gently worn shoes that will be donated to women and children affected by domestic violence.
Lastly, the local and national union leaders examined UFCW Canada's political action work for the 2015 Federal Election, in which Canadians overwhelmingly voted to say "Goodbye" to Stephen Harper and his anti-worker policies.
Mark Hennessy, UFCW Canada's Director of Political Action, detailed the tireless efforts of UFCW activists to help elect progressive candidates in the election. Both before and after the writ was dropped, UFCW Canada activists trained members, canvassed for candidates, and conducted voter outreach in countless ridings across the country, and our union's communications efforts were second to none within the labour movement.
Hennessy said that, while the election outcome was not the result that UFCW had hoped for, our efforts succeeded in moving the national political discourse to the left, removing the Harper Conservatives from power, and sending dozens of New Democrats back to Ottawa.
"Whether its fighting for women's rights, working to elect progressive politicians, or helping more workers join the union, UFCW Canada is now the leading progressive force in the Canadian labour movement, and it's thanks to the support and input of UFCW Canada's Local Unions and members that we are able to conduct this vitally important work," Paul Meinema, UFCW Canada's National President, said in his address to Council members.
As the union's national executive board, the UFCW Canada National Council meets twice a year to assess the state of the union, decide on national strategies for strengthening the membership's bargaining power with employers, and develop plans for helping more workers join the union. The next UFCW Canada National Council meeting is scheduled for Spring 2016.