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St. John's, N.L. – July 9, 2015 – UFCW Canada activists from across the country gathered in St. John's, Newfoundland from July 6 to 8 for the 29th Annual National Defence Fund (NDF) Convention to build strength, fairness, and solidarity for members. Over the past three decades, the NDF has provided UFCW Canada members and their Local Unions with extra financial resources and bargaining strength when faced with a strike or lockout.

The NDF Convention provides delegates from UFCW Canada Local Unions with the opportunity to share industry insights, review bargaining trends in UFCW Canada's core industries, and learn new strategies to advance fairness for UFCW Canada members and all working people.

In his opening address, National President Paul Meinema congratulated delegates on their work in building an ever-stronger NDF that has attracted thousands of new members in recent years, particularly in the retail food sector.

"It is truly remarkable to see how far the NDF has come over the years and how many UFCW members it now helps to protect," Meinema told the convention delegates. "The Fund has grown from a handful of meat packing units in the late 1980s to one of the largest and most powerful bargaining resources in the country, and today it has a major impact on the living standards of members," he added.

Brother Meinema also thanked the NDF Convention delegates for their support of the Together Fairness Works campaign, which is starting to produce positive results in the political arena with the election of a progressive government in Alberta and a surge in popular support for the federal New Democratic Party (NDP).  

The UFCW leader's remarks were followed by presentations from NDP MPs Jack Harris and Ryan Cleary, who denounced the Harper Government's anti-worker policies and outlined the NDP's vision for building a stronger, more progressive Canada. Barry Sawyer, the Executive Assistant to the National President, then discussed UFCW Canada's strategy for defeating the Conservatives in this year's election. Delegates also watched a moving tribute to the late Albert Johnson, the former UFCW Canada Local 1118 President who helped establish the NDF.

For the remainder of the convention, delegates joined their respective sector councils for the packinghouse, hospitality, soft drink, flour milling, and retail industries.


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