July 15, 2022
Growth and strength key themes of 2022 NDF Convention

Vancouver – July 15, 2022 – Strength, solidarity, and growth were the themes of the 2022 National Defence Fund (NDF) Convention, held in Vancouver from July 10 to 12. At the convention, hundreds of UFCW Canada activists from across the country gathered in-person for the first time since 2019, to discuss updates on NDF bargaining units and explore strategies for building bargaining strength in UFCW’s core industries.

As part of the two-day event, activists from UFCW Canada Local Unions and the National Office took in presentations and workshops that focused on core industry issues, bargaining trends, and new tactics for empowering members as a force for positive change at work and at the bargaining table.

For more than three decades, the NDF has provided UFCW Canada members and their Local Unions with extra financial resources and negotiating strength when faced with a strike or lockout.

“The tremendous courage and leadership that UFCW members have shown on the front lines of COVID-19 are key reasons why our union has been able to weather this pandemic with great resolve,” UFCW Canada National President Paul Meinema told convention attendees. “And as we emerge from the pandemic, UFCW activists will need to show leadership once again, because we can’t let employers use COVID-19 as an excuse to roll back the gains we have fought so hard to achieve,” the UFCW leader added.

Some of the issues explored at the convention included line speeds in food manufacturing units, challenges with app-based scheduling, and health and safety concerns in the coronavirus era. As well, participants examined the impact of animal feeding operations on climate change, among other important topics.

A special tribute presentation also honoured retired UFCW Local 1400 President Norm Neault for his decades of committed service to the membership and years of activism with the NDF.

In addition to these discussions, delegates heard from Jennifer Hassum, Executive Director of the Broadbent Institute; the Honourable Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care in British Columbia; James Ritchie, Assistant General Secretary at the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF); Mark Nemitz, Assistant to the Director of Food Processing, Packing & Manufacturing at the UFCW International Union; and Kevin Grier, livestock, meat, and grocery market analyst.

Legendary Canadian astronaut and best-selling author Chris Hadfield then closed out the convention with a rousing speech on what it takes to identify your dreams and achieve greatness in your field.

On both days of the convention, delegates joined their respective sector meetings for the packinghouse, hospitality, soft drink, flour milling, and retail food industries. To learn more about the National Defence Fund and the integral support it provides to members, visit the UFCW Canada NDF website.