Stewardship course strengthens member activism – UFCW 1118


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Edmonton – March 23, 2016 – UFCW Canada Local 1118 activists recently gathered in Edmonton for the launch of the local union’s new three-day stewardship course.

The goal of the course is to build capacity and promote leadership among shop floor activists and to encourage community action and involvement within their local union.

Since the end of February, sessions have been held in Calgary as well as Edmonton, with upcoming sessions planned in Red Deer, Alberta. Over the course of five weeks, over 60 UFCW Canada Local 1118 members will participate in this dynamic new course.

Members who attended the sessions were given an introduction to labour relations, collective bargaining, and labour law. They also learned about the important role their union plays in defending and promoting labour rights on the local, national and international stage. Members engaged passionately in discussions centered around UFCW Canada's advocacy for migrant workers in Canada and for the victims of the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh.

Participants also shared their knowledge and experiences about the meaning of stewardship in the workplace and gained in depth knowledge about grievance investigation, conflict resolution, meetings with management, and the importance of note taking and documentation.

"I've learned that being a shop steward is challenging," said one participant from Cargill Case Ready. "You need to be committed and trusted to do this job."

With a renewed emphasis on encouraging member-driven activism and initiatives, the course pushed participants to commit themselves to action.

"We have to take some time during this course to organize ourselves," said newly elected Assistant Chief Shop Steward Imeldo Bacon from Maple Leaf Meats. "We have to plan how we can better serve our fellow members with the knowledge we’ve gained through this experience."

UFCW Canada Local 1118 is one of three UFCW Canada local unions in Alberta representing workers in the retail, manufacturing, and health care sectors.