Education is vital to living an informed and socially responsible life and I believe that we can begin that education within our own organization.
Our Union has a long history of providing our members some of the best training of any Union in Canada. We host seminars, paid training, and other courses all to make sure our members have opportunities to enrich their personal and professional lives at no financial cost.
We begin this new year with a reinvigorated approach to Stewards’ education. Our Stewards are the first line of defence for the members: They make sure the provisions of your collective agreement are upheld and that every worker is treated fairly. It’s a tough job and the more resources we can provide for them, the better.
It’s important to me, and all of the staff at the Union, that our Stewards know they have our full support. We respect the time they volunteer away from loved ones, on weekends, and into the late hours of the night sometimes, to help fight for workers’ rights.
Our goal for 2014 is to enhance our approach to training which means there will be more local seminars focusing on timely issues. This will allow more Stewards to attend and gain the specific skills training they need to return to the workplace and continue to represent their coworkers. On page 5 of the January issue of Checkout
, you can read more about the details of the new plan.
Education though, goes beyond what anyone can provide in a classroom. It’s important that we look for opportunities to better ourselves and learn about the issues and decisions that can change our world in an instant. It is incumbent on all of us to know what’s going on in the world and certainly what’s going on in our own country.
Like it or not, politics affect every aspect of our lives. We will face elections soon and Conservative bosses Harper
and Hudak will rely on all of us being uneducated on the issues and apathetic toward politics so they can push through their anti-worker laws.
And working families will pay the price.
In the fall, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) launched the Together Fairness Works campaign, which includes a series of ads focusing on the important work done by Unions to safeguard the rights, health & safety, and benefits of every worker. Together Fairness Works is an attempt to educate the public on what an incredible contribution Unionized workers and the labour movement make to the economy and our communities: Union wages and union benefits raise the standard for all workers. If you haven’t seen the ads yet, visit fairnessworks.ca
and take a look.
I hope you have great New Year. Stay strong, stay united
and stay informed!
President, Local 175 UFCW Canada