HISTORY

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UFCW Local 247 represents over 12,000 members in the province of B.C. at employers such as Westfair Foods, Canada Safeway, FG Deli Group, IGA, B.C. Tree Fruit, Swiss Chalet, and many others.

The Local came into existence as a result of a merger between Locals 2000 and 777. The membership of both locals voted to accept merger at meetings held throughout August of 2001 and the process was finalized with the creation of Local 247 on January 1, 2002.

Below you will find a brief history of the former Locals 2000 and 777.

UFCW LOCAL 2000

 

 
1937

On April 2nd, Local 279 of the Retail Clerks' International Union (RCU) was chartered.

1938

A first Collective Agreement was negotiated. Wages skyrocketed up to $27.00 for a 48-hour work week.

1939

While the Department of Labour considered Meat Cutters a Trade, Grocery Clerks were grouped in with other retail workers and were difficult to organize. A lack of labour legislation further frustrated the Union members.

In August, the Meat Cutters left Local 279 and joined the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America as Local 604. In September, Canada joined Britain at war. The Amalgamated Meat Cutters pulled out of Canada and the Meat Cutters rejoined Local 279 of the Retail Clerks' International Union.
1946

The Meat Cutters still faced the same problems with labour laws and organizing. They approached the Trades and Labour Congress (forerunner of the Canadian Labour Congress) and Local 279 split into three parts. The Meat Cutters again left the Retail Clerks Union and formed Local 222 of the Retail Meat Employees.

The Retail Grocery Clerks formed Local 1518 of the Retail Clerks' Union, and the non-food retail clerks remained in Local 279 RCU. The three different group operated as a joint council.

1948

The Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America returned to Canada, and Local 222 became Local 212 of the Amalgamated.

1952

The Fur and Leather Workers joined the Amalgamated Meat cutters and four B.C. locals merged into Local 412 and affiliated with Local 212.

1968

The long-awaited merger of the Amalgamated with the United Packinghouse Workers is finalized. Notwithstanding the international structure, the Canadian section of the Amalgamated constitutionally became the Canadian Food and Allied Workers Union. In British Columbia, Local 212 adopted the name B.C. Meat Cutters, Food and Allied Workers, Local 212A.

1979

The Amalgamated and the Retail Clerks' Union merged internationally to form the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

CAMWRU

The Canadian Allied Manufacturers, Wholesale, Retail Union was formed out of what was previously known as the Kelly, Douglas Employees Association. In 1975, the trade unionists involved with the Kelly, Douglas Employees Association received a charter from the Canadian Labour Congress to become CAMWRU, an independent Canadian union. CAMWRU operated for five years as an independent union and then decided it was time to get into a larger organization as the structure of the corporation they dealt with was becoming much more international in nature. On November 6, 1980, CAMWRU became Local 1600 of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

B.C. Fruit and Vegetable Workers Union

In the early years of fruit packing and canneries in the Okanagan and Creston valleys, the workers began unionizing to form the Federation of Fruit and Vegetable Workers Union under a charter from the Trades and Labour Congress (forerunner of the Canadian Labour Congress). Over the years, the structure changed somewhat into sub-locals of the B.C. Interior Fruit and Vegetable Workers union, Local 1572, a directly chartered Local of the Canadian Labour Congress. The name changed once more to the B.C. Fruit and Vegetable Workers to account for members in areas outside the Interior.

In 1981 after many attempts by other unions to raid and swallow up the Local, the Executive facilitated a merger into the UFCW. On April 13, 1981, the B.C. Fruit and Vegetable Workers received a charter and became UFCW Local 1572. The Local was short-lived due to limited funds to operate in a changing world, and in 1982, Local 1572 merged with UFCW Local 1600 CAMWRU, keeping Local 1600's name.

On September 1, 1984, UFCW Local 1600 and UFCW Local 212A merged to form what we now know as UFCW Local 2000.

Prince Rupert Amalgamated Shoreworkers & Clerks Union, Local 1674, CLC

Local 1674 operated for a number of years as a directly chartered affiliate of the Canadian Labour Congress after the workers at the former Co-op Fairview Plant in Prince Rupert had left the Fishermen's Union. In late 1989 the workers decided that there was a need to belong to a larger Union. The fishing industry was undergoing significant changes and the workers needed a structure to accommodate them. The CLC concluded that UFCW Local 2000 and the Fishermen's Union were eligible to facilitate a merger. Following numerous joint meetings and several representation votes, the workers selected Local 2000 as their new home.

Within a few years, the Co-op sold the business to J.S. MacMillan Fisheries and in 1997, that Company went into receivership and sought protection against bankruptcy from the Supreme Court of Canada. The Union was instrumental in finalizing a restructuring which has allowed the Company to remain in business.

UFCW LOCAL 777

Local 777 came into existence when its Charter was issued in late 1988 and shortly after, began representing its first members with the opening of the Extra Foods store in Kelowna. Gib Whitlock, who had been President of Local 401 in Alberta, agreed to assist Local 777 in the position of President. In the spring of 1989, the Metrotown Superstore opened, followed by the Western Grocers Warehouse and several more Superstores. In October 1990, Jim Smith, International Representative for UFCW was hired at Local 777, and subsequently became Secretary-Treasurer of the Local. Suzanne Hodge, also an International Representative for UFCW, when she was hired as a Staff Representative for Local 777 in August 1994.

  • On February 2, 1995, Jim Smith unexpectedly and sadly passed away.
  • In April 1995, Jim was succeeded as Secretary-Treasurer by Nelson Reed. Nelson had been Director of Education for Local 401 in Alberta. Suzanne Hodge was appointed to the position of Assistant to the President.
  • On January 1, 1996, Staci Carich and Charles Pratt were hired as Staff Representatives for Local 777 after serving in the capacity of temporary Staff Representatives for the previous year. Staci and Charles had both worked in Superstore and were both long term members of the Executive Board of Local 777.
  • On July 28, 1998, Staci Carich tragically passed away in Chicago while attending the UFCW International Convention.
  • The following year, in September of 1999, Dean Patriquin was hired as a Staff Representative for Local 777. Dean had been serving in the capacity of International Staff Representative assigned to British Columbia.
  • In the spring of 2000, discussions began between Local 777 and Local 2000 regarding the possible merger of the Locals.
  • In October 2001, International Representative Dan Goodman was hired by the Local as Assistant to the President.

At this point, the Local had grown from approximately 50 members from that single store in Kelowna to over 6,000 at multiple employers locations throughout the Province.

The merger process was completed in September of 2001, and became effective January 1, 2002 with the creation of UFCW Local 247.

Leif Hansen who had been President of Local 2000 became Executive Vice-President/Director of Operations. Ian Landles, who had been Secretary-Treasurer of Local 2000 retained that position in Local 247.

Lou Regenwetter became Assistant to the Executive Vice-President/Director of Operations, Rob Nairne, Ethel Rupp and Don Gerow also joined the new Local as Staff Representatives. All had worked previously for Local 2000.

Eric Seto, an Executive Board member from Western Grocers Warehouse, was hired as a Staff Representative on February 1, 2002.

  • ufcw [at] ufcw247 [dot] com