UFCW activists build strength at NDF Convention


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Saskatoon, Sask. – July 12, 2018 – UFCW Canada activists from across the country gathered in Saskatoon from July 8 to 10 for the 32nd Annual National Defence Fund (NDF) Convention, where participants explored innovative ways to build the Fund’s strength, fairness, and solidarity for members.

For more than three decades, the NDF has provided UFCW Canada members and their Local Unions with extra financial resources and bargaining strength when faced with a strike or lockout.

The NDF Convention provides delegates from UFCW Canada Local Unions with the opportunity to share industry insights, review bargaining trends in UFCW Canada's core industries, and learn new strategies to advance fairness for UFCW Canada members and all working people.

In his opening address, National President Paul Meinema congratulated delegates on their work in building an ever-stronger and dynamic NDF that has attracted thousands of new members in recent years, including workers at Molson Coors Canada, Eastern Quebec Seafoods, and Moose Jaw Co-op, among others.

“The National Defence Fund has a thirty-two-year track record of providing strength, growth, and support for workers, and getting stronger, better contracts for UFCW Canada members and their families,” Meinema told the convention.

“Over the last three decades, the NDF has grown from a small but mighty group of packinghouse workers in Western Canada to a national community of UFCW activists in almost every sector of the economy, and I am proud to say that it is now a true force for change in Canada,” he added.

This year’s NDF Convention focused on the impacts of automation and technological change on UFCW’s core industries, and the tools and strategies that our union is developing to address these challenges. Activists also discussed gender-based violence in the workplace and current trends in the food processing, meatpacking, and manufacturing industries.

In addition, participants heard from Sarah Doyle, Director of Policy and Research at the Brookfield Institute; Farrah Kahn, Consent Educator and Activist; Mark Lauritsen, UFCW International Vice-President; James Ritchie, Assistant General Secretary of the International Union of Food Workers (IUF); and Kevin Grier, President of KG Market Analysis and Consulting.

For the remainder of the convention, delegates joined their respective sector councils for the packinghouse, hospitality, soft drink, flour milling, and retail food industries.

The next NDF Convention will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. To find out more about the National Defence Fund, click here.