2023 NDF Convention coverage

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July 20, 2023

Each year, members from UFCW Local Union bargaining units that participate in the National Defence Fund (NDF) take part in the NDF Convention.

During this two-day meeting, members and staff have the opportunity to discuss trends, concerns, and opportunities across a number of industries.

This year the 2023 NDF Convention took place in Winnipeg from July 16 – 18. Delegates received warm welcomes from UFCW Canada Resident Elder Eric Flett and Local 832 President Jeff Traeger.

National President Paul Meinema spoke to delegates about the affordability crisis and its impact on working people. Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew also addressed the group. His discussions included the challenges facing Manitobans and working people across the country. The UFCW Canada NDF Administration Committee, which includes Local 175 Secretary-Treasurer Kelly Tosato, reported on the state of the Fund. Plus, Highbury Canco Chief Steward Scott Jackson took a moment at the podium on day one to thank the NDF and the members for their support during the strike at the Highbury plant earlier this year.

In the afternoon, delegates broke out into sectors. This included meetings for packinghouse, retail, hospitality, flour milling, and soft drink workers. Within each of the sector meetings, members gave reports on bargaining, achievements, and working conditions at various workplaces. Other delegates took part in an education session, led by UFCW Canada Resident Elder Eric Flett. This session focused on how our Union and the labour movement can support Indigenous Reconciliation.

“This convention is an important opportunity for our members who participate in the NDF to connect with other workers in their sectors,” said President Haggerty. “It’s a chance to share concerns and discuss strategies for dealing with industry issues and continue the work of improving working conditions for our members.”

Sector meetings continued on day two before delegates reconvened in the afternoon for an inspiring keynote address from artist and organizer Dave Meslin. Dave spoke to the convention delegates about how important it is to create connection with the people around us. From our neighbours to those we want to engage in the labour movement; he presented the steps to build community through those connections.

The National Defence Fund has been in place for more than three decades. The Fund provides extra financial resources and bargaining strength to members at participating bargaining units who are on strike or locked out. You can learn more on the UFCW Canada NDF website.

Thank you to all our members who attended the 2023 NDF Convention. Your participation and contributions help make your workplaces better every day.

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