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NDF 28th Convention builds strength, solidarity and fairness

UFCW Canada activists from across Canada gathered in Vancouver, June 6 to 8, at the 28th Annual National Defense Fund (NDF) Convention to build strength, fairness, and solidarity. 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 also provides delegates from UFCW Canada Local Unions the opportunity to share industry insights, review bargaining trends in UFCW Canada 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 welcomed the delegates to an ever-stronger NDF — stronger still with thousands of retail-sector members and their Local Unions recently joining the NDF. "It is very inspiring to see how the NDF has become a leading force for change and fairness over the past 28 years. The NDF is essential to making sure that all our core industries are places where people can provide for themselves, raise a family and retire with dignity."

Brother Meinema also thanked the delegates for their support of the Together Fairness Works media and grassroots campaign, launched last fall, to fight back against the ant-union, anti-worker agenda. He also shared the results of a new survey that shows the campaign has been very effective in raising public awareness that unions are vital in providing fairness for all working people and families in Canada. "This convention is all about building on that progress, on taking our member-to-member engagement and mobilization strategies to the next level," said the UFCW Canada leader to the more than 200 convention delegates.

The national president's remarks were followed by a presentation by UFCW V.P. Mark Lauritsen on the impact of globalization on the packing house sector. Brother Lauritsen is the UFCW Director for the Food Processing, Packing and Manufacturing Division. He was followed by Dr. Elaine Bernard, Director of the Labor & Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. Sister Bernard encouraged delegates to engage their co-workers, families, and neighbours about the fairness unions bring to members — and to the larger community.

For the balance of the convention, delegates joined their respective sector councils for the packinghouse, hospitality, soft drink, flour milling and retail industries. Within these breakout meetings, delegates also participated in Together Fairness workshops to help them empower and engage their fellow members to campaign against the ultra-conservative, anti-worker agenda.

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