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UFCW 247 & 1518 Supporting Journeyperson Accreditation

Two of the province's major food worker unions are putting their money on the table for scholarships for their members to enroll in the Retail Meat Processing program at Thompson Rivers University.

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Together, Locals 247 and 1518 of the United Food and Commercial Workers union have committed $150,000 aimed at their members seeking new careers as meat cutters, and for experienced meat cutters needing an incentive to complete their journeyperson accreditation.
"Thes are very generous contributions from UFCW 247 and 1518," said Dr. Harold Richins, Dean TRU School of Tourism. "Student scholarships of this magnitude and significance have not been offered previously at our institution."

Although representatives from each of the Locals only made the announcement at the TRU Foundation Gala on Feb. 6, students are already taking advantage of the scholarships to complete their journey person accreditation.

UFCW 247's gift of $100,000 ($50,000 from 2009 and $50,000 from 2010) was presented by Bruce Jackson, and UFCW 1518's gift of $50,000 for 2010 was presented by Ivan Limpright, President of UFCW Local 1518.  

Local 247 and UFCW Local 1518 have each established five annual scholarships of $10,000 for their respective members registering with the Entry Level Program.

 UFCW Local 247 represents approximately 14,000 workers in BC who are mainly employed in the retail food sector and meat processing plants.

Local 1518 represents 26,000 workers in almost every sector of the economy across BC, including the retail food sector and meat & poultry processing plants, as well as representing members in the health care sector employed by health care agencies throughout the province.

Jackson estimates that 40 to 50 per cent of the province's meat cutting journeypersons will be retiring in the next decade. He credits Ken Jakes (TRU Chair Retail Meat Cutting) with the foresight to put this idea together for his members. "We all knew that that meat cutting trade needed help right now. But it was the quality of the instruction and the enthusiasm shown for our industry by TRU School of Tourism it was easy to convince our executive and the retailers involved that this is what we need to do to prepare for our future."

Ivan Limpright, President of UFCW 1518, echoed Jackson's comments and applauded TRU for its initiative in taking on this much-needed training. "There will continue to be transitions in the retail meat industry, and in conjunction with TRU's expertise and input, we believe these scholarships are a good step forward in helping create an environment that fosters good, stable careers for workers in the meat industry."

Thompson Rivers University is the only post-secondary institution in the province that offers a Retail Meat Processing Program.


  • ufcw [at] ufcw247 [dot] com