UFCW Canada leaders participating in the National Council meeting in Toronto on June 8 and 9. From left to right: President Robert Ziegler, Local 832; President John Bennett, Local 864, Craig Walsh, Local 864; Executive Vice-President Pearl Sawyer, Local 1000A; President Albert Johnson, Local 1118, and President Rob Edwards, Local 12R24.
UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley chairing the union’s biannual national executive board meeting.
The UFCW Canada National Council met in Toronto on June 8 and 9 to focus on the union’s organizing efforts in the retail food industry, and to discuss the best way to build on the political momentum that was gained in the last federal election which resulted in a historic victory for Canada’s labour party, the NDP.
As the union’s national executive board, the UFCW Canada National Council meets twice a year to discuss the state of the union and to decide national strategies for strengthening the membership’s bargaining power with employers.
Over the two day meeting, the National Council heard a report from national staff about the recent UFCW International Staff Conference and Growth Retreat which featured several innovative organizing campaigns. The UFCW Canada leaders also reviewed the union’s impressive contribution to the CLC Convention, held last month in Vancouver.
UFCW Canada National Council special guest Dr. Elaine Bernard talking about how important it is for union members to be active in politics.
The National Council welcomed Dr. Elaine Bernard – the executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School – as part of a special presentation by the UFCW Canada Political Action and Government Relations Department. Professor Bernard focused on the rapid spread of right-wing politics in North America and the impact they are having on working families across the continent. She also discussed the essential role that unions must play in checking regressive political forces and the importance of engaging young workers.
Dr. Bernard’s comments and insights were especially noted by UFCW Canada local union leaders in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland – all provinces where elections will be fought later this year.
The national executive board also invited the executive director of the Workers Health & Safety Centre, Dave Killham, who talked about the numerous health and safety issues facing retail workers in Ontario. Brother Killham also outlined the many health and safety resources available through the centre to UFCW Canada members and their local unions free of charge. For more on the Workers Health & Safety Centre and their services, visit www.whsc.on.ca.
The next UFCW Canada National Council meeting is scheduled for the fall.