Standing L-R: Julia Rankin, Local 247; Susan Espin, Local 247; Nancy Quiring, National Office. Seated L-R: Dawn Stevenson, Local 247; Tima Burgess, Local 247
Recently, UFCW Canada activists and staff joined 350 other attendees packed into South Vancouver’s Fraserview Hall for the Vancouver and District Labour Council (VDLC) "Celebrating Women" event.
In her opening remarks, VDLC President Joey Hartman stressed how important the union advantage has been to women in providing wage parity, equal access to promotions, and protection against discrimination and harassment. "We recognize these achievements didn't come without a struggle, and with the rise of the right-wing agenda, it's important to keep the struggle alive and be motivated."
Keynote speaker Judy Rebick followed with a presentation on “Feminism in the Age of Occupy”. The long-time feminist, and founder of Rabble.ca, Sister Rebick praised a new generation of young women activists like those involved in the Occupy movement for their efforts to preserve and advance the goals of equality and social justice. “We have a new generation of activist women that’s stronger, more powerful, more sure of themselves and increasingly willing to fight, and they don’t have the insecurity that we had. The women's movement, and all these other movements have something in common: they're based on compassion."
UFCW Canada Local 247 Representative Tima Burgess, Local 247 Executive Board members Dawn Stevenson, Julia Rankin, and Susan Espin, as well as Nancy Quiring, UFCW Canada Western Provinces Regional Director attended the event. "Union sisters have made great strides when it comes to workplace equity, parental leave, and raising awareness about violence and harassment," says Sister Quiring, who is also chair of the National Council Women's Advisory Committee. "We must build on those successes because there are still many obstacles facing working women and families. Lack of access to quality affordable childcare is just one of them. Right-wing governments aren't listening which is all the more reason to work together to support and elect representatives who put families first when it come to public policy."