2023 Outstanding Achievement Awards Winners

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January 4, 2024

Congratulations to the winners of the 2023 Outstanding Achievement Awards!

These four members exemplify what it means to be dedicated and passionate about their causes. Each of these deserving members take home $500.

You can find out more about this annual Award and the four categories for nomination on our Awards page. You can nominate yourself or another member of UFCW Locals 175 & 633 for the 2024 awards starting in August.

Scroll down to read about last year’s winners.

Outstanding Contributions to the Community

Kola Akanbi – Christian Horizons
Kola Akanbi wins the 2023 Outstanding Achievement Award for Contributions to the Community

Kola is committed to making a positive impact in his community. With a long history of volunteerism, including at the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities and Goodwill Employment Services, Kola selflessly puts his time and expertise to use to directly improve the lives of many people in need.

As a hardworking Direct Support Professional at Christian Horizons in Durham, Kola is an exemplary Union Steward. He consistently goes above and beyond in his role to provide exceptional care and support to the people he serves.

“What truly sets Kola apart is his belief in the transformative power of volunteerism,” said Union Representative Hodan Wais. “He sees it as a way to not only build personal capacity, but also to uplift and support others within his community.”

His dedication and work ethic are a source of inspiration, and Kola’s passion for community betterment is a shining example of our union’s core values.

Thank you, Kola, for your commendable work supporting your community.

Leadership & Advancement of UFCW

Gloria Maquiling – Rexall
Gloria Maquiling wins the 2023 Outstanding Achievement Award for Leadership & Advancement of UFCW

Gloria has been a Local 175 member for many years and she is a well-respected Union Steward at her Rexall store in Toronto. With her experience and drive, Gloria is able to motivate and engage the other members in the workplace, especially new members, about the Union and the protections and benefits contained in their collective agreement.

As an active member, she encourages co-workers to get involved in their Union. And Gloria leads by example, too. She regularly attends membership meetings, community events including Labour Day, cell training opportunities, and conventions such as the Bylaw & Policy Conference in 2023.

“Gloria is a strong advocate for the Union,” said Servicing Representative Shirley Hepditch. “She is always a positive and encouraging voice for solidarity and getting people involved. I know this strength and tenacity goes a long way to ensuring her co-workers feel informed and protected at work.”

Thank you, Gloria, for your leadership and being a strong voice for your co-workers.

Dedication to fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada

Elaine Wyllie – Metro
Elaine Wyllie wins the 2023 Outstanding Achievement Award for dedication to fundraising for the LLSC

Elaine is a respected and long-serving Union Steward at Metro. For more than 14 years now, Elaine’s guidance and experience have served her co-workers well.

In 2009, Elaine lost her sister-in-law to leukemia. In her memory, Elaine supports the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC) and its life-saving work. Elaine has been very involved in the Payroll Deduction fundraiser, which sees thousands of generous Union members at Metro sign up every year to donate a small portion of their paycheques each week to the LLSC.

The passion of members like Elaine has raised hundreds of thousands for the LLSC through the Payroll Deduction Program over the years. Since 1985, the generosity of UFCW members across Canada has led to more than $50 million in support for the LLSC.

“Elaine is an incredible and supportive champion for her co-workers,” said Union Representative Jennifer Hanley. “Her commitment to fundraising for the LLSC is inspiring and just goes to show how much she cares for others in her community.”

Thank you, Elaine, for your ongoing generosity and advocacy for this worthwhile cause.

Enhancing & Achieving Improvements in Workplace Health & Safety or Workers’ Compensation

Al Reston – Fearmans
Al Reston wins the 2023 Outstanding Achievement Award for Workplace Health & Safety and Workers' Compensation

Al is the Chief Steward and a long-time active and engaged member at Fearmans Pork in Burlington. In April 2023, the employer issued letters to members at the plant about modified duties due to injury, which effectively reduced the pay level for members with Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) claims and/or permanent injuries.

In a clear breach of the collective agreement and the Human Rights Code, this letter advised those affected members that their pay would be reduced to the level of the modified job they were doing. Al was quick to act. He immediately began educating the members of their rights and filed grievances on their behalf. He made sure to ease the members’ worries and let them know the Union stood behind them. And, as a result of an arbitration decision, the grievors maintained their pre-injury rate of pay.

“Al recognizes the importance of health and safety in the workplace, and the rights and obligations of workers’ compensation,” said Union Representative Jason Hanley. “He is always keen to learn and ask questions, and is an incredible asset to his co-workers on the shop floor.”

Thank you, Al, for your ongoing dedication to protecting the rights of your co-workers.

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