Advocacy

Indigenous Reconciliation

UFCW Locals 175 & 633 supports the advancement of Reconciliation with the Indigenous Peoples of this land including the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions’ Calls to Action.

Find a PDF of the Truth & Reconciliation Commissions’ Calls to Action here.

Through UFCW Canada, we are a proud partner with the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society

As a Union, we take the responsibility of representing all workers and fighting for advancements in human and workers’ rights seriously. It is our pledge to do our part to:

  • Advance Reconciliation and raise awareness through providing educational resources and information to our Members;
  • Work with First Nations groups such as the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society (which UFCW Canada is proud to partner with) to support and advance the important causes those groups represent;
  • Take an active role in the work to dismantle and repair existing racist and classist systems which only serve to further suppress the voices and lived experiences of Indigenous people and cause ongoing real harm to generations of families.

Further, the Union acknowledges the following important days on the calendar which serve to lift up the stories of Indigenous Peoples, commemorate past and ongoing barriers to equality and Reconciliation, and celebrate the incredible contributions of the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island.

  • March 20: Two-Spirit and Indigenous LGBTQIA+ Celebration and Awareness Day
  • May 5: National MMIWG2S Awareness Day
    • This day honours and raises awareness about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Two-Spirited, and Gender Diverse People across the nation.
  • June: National Indigenous History Month
  • June 21: National Indigenous Peoples’ Day
  • August 9: International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
  • September 30: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
  • November (first week): Treaties Recognition Week
  • November 8: National Indigenous Veterans Day

You can find our land acknowledgement here.

Bill 124: Fighting wage suppression and infringement on collective bargaining rights

Click here for an update on Bill 124, which was officially repealed on February 23, 2024, after the Ford government lost its appeal of a 2022 decision that deemed the legislation unconstitutional.

What is Bill 124?

Bill 124, which became law in November 2019, is controversial because it limits wage and other compensation increases across the public sector and in workplaces that receive public funding, such as not-for-profit long-term care homes and universities. Under this law,

Plus, in the Charter challenge, Unions argue that the government’s compensation cap ties the hands of Unions in negotiations and therefore interferes with the members’ rights to bargain collectively.

Bill 124:

  • CAPS SALARY increases at 1% per year. Employers cannot agree to salary increases over 1% for a class of positions even if they were willing to do so. This cap applies to both collective bargaining and decisions by Boards of Arbitration. When this cap applies depends on the expiry and dates of negotiation for a new/renewal agreement. Learn more here.
  • CAPS OTHER COMPENSATION such as pensions, health and dental benefits, uniform allowances, etc., all at 1%. The employer can spend more than 1% to improve a benefit, but the employee’s benefit cannot exceed a 1% increase.
  • Further, the Act specifically prevents employers from compensating an employee before or after the moderation period. That means the employer cannot wait until the end of the affected time period to make up for the capped compensation at a later date. Learn more here.

Does Bill 124 affect UFCW Locals 175 & 633 members?

Yes, some. This Bill suppresses the wages and right to free collective bargaining for members employed at publicly funded (not-for-profit) long-term care homes, community care centres, or home care programs, as well as cafeteria, food service, janitorial service workers at those healthcare facilities, universities, hospitals, and more.

History of Bill 124:

  • Bill 124 became law in Ontario in November 2019; it sparked outrage among workers in the broader public sector.
  • Bill 124 is known as the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act (the Act).
  • On March 4, 2020, a coalition of Ontario Unions launched a constitutional challenge to Bill 124.
    • The group, coordinated by the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) and which includes UFCW Locals 175 & 633, believes Bill 124 violates the collective bargaining rights enshrined in the freedom of association guarantee of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • On November 29, 2022, Justice Markus Koehnen of the Ontario Superior Court issued a decision that Bill 124 is in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • On December 29, 2022, the Ford government announced it would appeal the Superior Court’s ruling.

Community Action Network

The Community Action Network (CAN) celebrates the diversity and multiculturalism of the Local’s members. President Kelly Tosato is dedicated to embracing the many unique cultures that make up our Union. Throughout the year, CAN organizes and sponsors a wide variety of events and programs to highlight the communities of our members.

At the National and International level, UFCW equity-seeking groups include:

United through diversity, it is our mission to:

  • Strengthen our Local Unions and the level of service to the members within our Local Unions by building on the principles of commitment, respect, justice and equality for all our members, while representing and supporting the multiculturalism and diversity of our membership.
  • Continue reaching out to and building relationships with organizations and community groups that share Locals’ 175 & 633 values and commitment to our members’ participation in and contributions to their communities outside the workplace for the betterment of all our members’ lives and our Local Unions.
  • Work jointly with community groups and organizations to educate members, stewards and staff about circumstances and issues that affect our diverse membership and help them develop as community leaders to improve the everyday lives of their co-workers and communities.

Blood Cancer Research

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC) has been the UFCW’s charity of choice since the mid 1980s. Since that time, the amazing and generous members of our Local Unions nation-wide, have gone out of their way and reached deep into their pockets to help raise more than $50 million as of 2023!

Our members not only donate, but many organize and run fundraisers every year! We publish photos and info on these events to the site as well as all the other amazing ways our Union Members give back to their communities!

All of the money raised goes to the LLSC’s research programs, studies and support services for those suffering from blood cancers and their families. Visit the LLSC website for more info on their life-saving work.

This cause is close to the hearts of many of our members, staff, and our communities. And every year, the dedication and generosity of our Members continues to be overwhelming.

Members of Locals 175 & 633 take part in a wide variety of fundraisers throughout the year including BBQs, sports tournaments, fishing derbies, scrapbooking crops, walks, ride-a-thons, raffles draws and much more! In addition, many members participate in Payroll Deduction fundraising.

Did you know?

There are to 137 types of blood cancers and related disorders. These cancers involve blood cells, the bone marrow, the lymph nodes and other parts of the lymphatic system. The main types of blood cancers include:

  • Leukemia
  • Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Myeloma
  • Other, less common, blood cancers, such as myelodysplastic syndromes and myeloproliferative neoplasms.

If you have an idea for a fundraiser and want some help, speak to your Union Rep or send an email to membership@ufcw175.com! Even if you just want to volunteer at an event, we’d be happy to hear from you! And if you’ve got a high school student in your family looking to fulfill some of their required volunteer time, let us know.

Learn more at bloodcancers.ca.

Workers’ Comp is a Right (WCIAR)

In September 2017, the Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Group (ONIWG) launched the Workers’ Comp is a Right campaign. The province-wide drive calls for a strong public workers’ compensation system that operates according to its founding principles.

  1. No cuts based on phantom jobs! (deeming).
  2. Listen to injured workers’ treating healthcare professionals.
  3. Stop cutting benefits based on “pre-existing conditions.”

Demand #1: No cuts based on phantom jobs.

Deeming, or determining, is when the WSIB pretends an injured worker has a job even when they don’t, and even when they’re unemployed. The WSIB then pretends the injured worker earns a salary at that non-existent job.

That imaginary salary is used as justification to cut that injured worker’s benefits.

Frequently, the WSIB deems injured workers to have these phantom jobs even when the worker is medically unable to work or actually obtain employment.

Demand #2: Listen to injured workers’ treating healthcare professionals.

The WSIB has a systemic problem: It regularly ignores medical evidence provided by both the doctors and health care providers of injured workers.

Often, the WSIB forces injured workers back to work despite health care professionals’ evidence that it is unsafe. The Board often denies treatment or medication prescribed by their doctors as well.

This puts workers at risk of re-injury, prolongs their recovery, and is really just another means of cutting benefits.

Demand #3: Stop cutting benefits based on “pre-existing conditions.”

** On December 15, 2017, the WSIB announced it would abolish its policy on pre-existing conditions and review about 4,500 cases where Injured Workers’ benefits were cut as a result of that policy

The WSIB’s common practice is to blame ongoing real injuries and disabilities on conditions it claims existed before the work injury.

Too often, these pre-existing conditions that the WSIB points to never actually affected the person until they were injured at work. In many cases, these injured workers had no previous diagnosis of any pre-existing condition nor any symptoms.

Yet the WSIB claims that the ‘real’ source of the injury was pre-existing and terminates the worker’s benefits.

What Can You Do?

It seems grim. The current Workers’ Compensation system is not adequate or fair for Injured Workers.

But ONIWG will not allow injured workers to be discouraged or ignored. People who are injured or made ill on the job have the right to dignity and respect. They have the right to compensation benefits for their work injuries. UFCW Locals 175 & 633, as well as the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), and other compensation advocacy groups across Ontario endorse and support the Workers’ Comp is a Right campaign and its demands.

TAKE ACTION on behalf of injured workers:

For more information visit the Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Group (ONIWG) website.

The WSIB uses cutbacks and austerity aggressively in a market-based approach to compensation. This benefits employers because it keeps costs low, and it forces injured workers into poverty because it keeps compensation to a minimum.

The WSIB’s excuse for benefit reductions is that ‘more injured workers are recovering faster and getting back to work.’ Compensation Reps and advocates know that this is not true. Severe conditions and permanent impairments don’t magically disappear.

Injured workers experience high rates of poverty as a direct result of the aggressive adjudication of their claims.

In 2022, the WSIB had a sudden ‘surplus’ which the Ontario government allowed the WSIB to return to – you guessed it – employers. At the same time, the WSIB has reduced premiums for employers over the last few years.

Ultimately, the WSIB claims that it’s reducing its unfunded liability and putting workers back on the job. But, the reality is that the WSIB is saving money through claw-backs to benefits which offloads costs on to public systems. This is particularly troubling since WSIB funding comes entirely from employer premiums and the Board’s investments.

By reducing, ignoring and denying entitlement and ongoing health care benefits, more injured workers must seek support elsewhere. Workers turn to publicly funded systems such as Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), and Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPPD). And when it comes to CPPD, the system penalizes workers even further. Once they get to the age of 65 and WSIB cuts them off from all benefits, the workers have little more than a reduced – or non-existent – public pension.

#WorkersCompIsARight

Learn more about worker’s compensation