Young union activists mobilize to build strength at YWS 2016


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Ottawa – October 27, 2016 – UFCW Canada youth activists from across Canada joined hundreds of young workers from across the country for the first-ever Young Workers’ Summit (YWS), held in Ottawa from October 23 to 25.

Organized by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), YWS brought together young union members, labour allies, and social justice activists to exchange stories and strategies for building young workers’ power in Canada, and to grow participants’ leadership, organizing, and political action skills.

A number of youth representatives from UFCW Canada’s National Office and Local Unions facilitated workshops and spoke at plenary sessions during the three-day event, exploring topics such as diversity and inclusion in the labour movement, communicating for change, union organizing strategies, and building capacity for community action.

“Young workers are a vital part of our union, and I am encouraged to see the leading role that UFCW youth activists played at the inaugural Young Workers’ Summit,” says UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema.

Over the course of three days, participants heard from a wide range of guest speakers, and took in various panels, events, and performances aimed at building capacity to win struggles that are important to young workers, activists, and union members. On Day Three of the Summit, activists also participated in a question-and-answer session with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“In order to continue growing our union and the social justice movement, we need to engage young people and equity-seeking groups in every sector of the economy,” says Brother Meinema. “That is why skill-building events like YWS are so important to UFCW Canada youth members and their union," he adds.