Toronto – May 3, 2013 – Over 400 UFCW Canada activists from across Ontario recently gathered in Toronto to participate in the UFCW Canada Locals 175 & 633 Education and Finance Conference – dedicated to building the strength and solidarity of Canada’s largest Local Union.
Delegates debated and voted on various financial and by-law matters and heard from an impressive lineup of guest speakers on a diverse range of issues, from creating more bargaining strength for the membership through organizing, to protecting employee rights, and the tremendous importance of political action for union members and their families.
Local 175 President Shawn Haggerty welcomed conference attendees in the morning and spoke about the Local Union's recent merger with the RWDSU Northern Joint Council, noting the partnership strengthens the voice of every member involved, and further enables the union to create better working and living standards for the membership.
Participants then heard from UFCW International President Joe Hansen, UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley, and federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, who emphasized the need to stop Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak and federal government boss Stephen Harper from crushing workers' rights by passing American-style labour laws in Canada.
Dr. Elaine Bernard, Director of the Labor & Worklife Porgram at Harvard Law School, also addressed the crowd, encouraging participants to tell their co-workers, friends, and family about the additional benefits that unions provide to working families beyond wages and job security. The day wrapped up with delegates completing an interactive survey on the Local Union's performance, followed by a closing speech from President Haggerty thanking activists for their hard work and dedication to the union.
"The Education and Finance Conference is a great opportunity for the Local Union to meet with our stewards from across the province and engage them in dynamic discussions, presentations, and surveys on the issues that matter to them most," says Brother Haggerty. "Understanding members' needs and keeping them informed on our work allows us to constantly improve our efforts to bring more fairness to workers everywhere."