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Why Join UFCW?

You have the RIGHT to join a Union. That right is guaranteed under the Ontario Labour Relations Act (OLRA)
and the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms, under Freedom of Association.

The Process

So how does the process work? Contact the Union, and meet with Union Organizers to discuss workplace concerns and how the Union can help solve those issues for you. Workers are asked to sign confidential Union cards indicating they want to join the Union.


New members of UFCW Locals 175 & 633 don’t pay union dues until after the Union has negotiated, and you and your co-workers have ratified, your first collective agreement. That contract must be ratified by more than 50% of the workers who attend the vote.


Local 175 has some of the strongest collective agreements in Canada. When you belong to the Union, UFCW Local 175 will help ensure you have safer working conditions, more respect on the job, good wages and good health and welfare benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

At UFCW Locals 175 & 633, we have Members that are covered by almost 1,000 separate collective agreements. Each of those agreements contains different benefits – health, vision, dental, or pension – through different plans. Some are through the employer and some are Union* plans.

*Please keep in mind the Union does not administer the plans and any claims issues must be dealt with through the Plan Administrators.

If you’re not sure which plan(s) you participate in or if you’re eligible to receive benefits, please contact your Union Representative. Your Union Steward at work, or your Human Resources department may also have forms. If you know you participate in the following plans, here are some useful links.

If you’re looking for information on Workers’ Compensation benefits please click here or email workerscomp@ufcw175.com.

Find your UFCW Locals 175 & 633 Union Rep by using our form here on the homepage or by contacting the Union in one of the following ways:

As a unionized worker who is a member at UFCW Locals 175 & 633, you have the right to:

  • Have a Union Steward present at any discipline meeting with your employer.
  • Just Cause protection, which means you cannot be fired without a justifiable reason
  • File a grievance (formal complaint) if the employer violates a part of your collective agreement.
  • Have input on bargaining for your collective agreement.
  • Vote on your contracts and Union bylaws and policies, and participate in Union meetings.
  • Benefit from the provisions of your collective agreement and know the Union will hold your employer accountable.

Employees should always check their pay stubs to make sure they receive the correct rate of pay for the correct number of hours. If you find an error, take it to your employer immediately. Often, they will correct the issue. Your collective agreement may contain language that requires them to pay the difference or a portion of the difference within a certain time frame.

You should also inform your Union Steward of any pay issues so that they can track it. Other employees may experience the same issue and they’ll need to know if there’s a bigger problem.

If you’re a Member of UFCW Locals 175 & 633, then you should contact your Union Steward(s) or you can go directly to your Union Representative at the Union office. You can find office contact info here, call the Union’s Head Office at 1-800-565-8329, or send an email to membership@ufcw175.com.

If you’re a non-Union worker, contact the UFCW Locals 175 & 633 Organizing Department to speak to one of our staff who can help you determine how having a Union could help solve your workplace issue.

It takes courage to form a Union in your workplace, but UFCW Locals 175 & 633 Organizers are here to make the process easier. Our Organizers will walk you through the steps and work with you to get cards signed by your co-workers. They will be with you throughout the campaign right up to the secret ballot vote held by the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB). To learn more about the Organizing process and read about workers celebrating their victories, visit our Organizing page here: https://ufcw175.com/join-the-union/

Our Organizers respect confidentiality throughout the process.

The Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) is an independent institution that processes claims and provides compensation to workers who are made ill or injured while at work. Participating employers are required to submit regular payments to the WSIB, which then acts as a sort of insurance for workers. Injured workers must submit claims to the WSIB to be eligible to receive compensation.

You can visit the WSIB website at: https://www.wsib.on.ca

If you’ve been injured or made ill through work, make sure you follow the procedure to file a claim with the WSIB and pay special attention to timelines. Your Union Rep or Steward can help you through this process. https://ufcw175.com/workerscompensation/#filing

You should file a claim if you’ve been injured or made ill at work. Many workers do not file claims and that only benefits employers. Your employer cannot tell you not to file a claim.

At UFCW Locals 175 & 633, we have dedicated workers compensation specialists to help our Union Members through the WSIB process.

If you receive a denial for your injury claim from the WSIB or if you are having trouble in a return-to-work process or with accommodation, make sure to contact our Workers Comp Reps at workerscomp@ufcw175.com or 1-800-267-1977.

This service is FREE to UFCW Locals 175 & 633 members and is one of the benefits of belonging to our Union.

For more information on the WSIB process and what to expect, visit our Workers’ Compensation section. https://ufcw175.com/workerscompensation/

Rank-and-file members are the backbone of any Union and your voice is important. Your role in the Union is to be active and aware.

  • At work, keep an eye out for health & safety hazards and violations of your collective agreement.
  • Speak to your co-workers about Union matters and attend Union meetings.
  • Run for Steward positions, become a Health & Safety Certified Member, or even run for the Local Union Executive Board.
  • Remain united during difficult times such as during bargaining or a strike.
  • Submit proposals when it comes time to negotiate a renewal agreement.
  • Always come to cast your vote at any ratification meetings; and,
  • Support other Unionized workers on strike and Shop Union whenever you can.

A Union Steward is one of your co-workers who volunteers their time to help employees with issues that arise at work. Depending on the size of your workplace, you might have one Steward or you might have a number of Stewards.

Your Steward(s) assists your Union Representative. Your Union Rep is a full-time staff member at the Union who deals with grievances, arbitrations, negotiations, and much more. Find out more about the role of a Union Steward here.

As a Union member you will pay a small amount in Union Membership Fees on a regular basis. The current formula for weekly fees at UFCW Locals 175 & 633 is:

Multiply your hourly rate by .6, then add 25 cents.

So, for example, if you make $14 per hour, your fee would be calculated as:

14.00 x .6 + 0.25 = 8.65 per week

When a Unionized employer hires you, there is usually a one-time enrollment fee. At UFCW Locals 175 & 633 that amount is $25 for part-time, and $40 for full-time. If you are part-time, the $25 is usually broken down over several paycheques.

And remember, the Membership Fees you pay to the Union are tax deductible.

Want to read more about where the money from your Membership Fees goes? https://ufcw175.com/why-join/

Seniority is an important part of being a Union member. Your seniority is usually based on your hire date – and sometimes it can come down to the minute you were hired too.

Most often, seniority relates to job postings, overtime, and layoffs. Employees with more seniority – and the ability to perform a job – who apply to job openings at the workplace should receive those jobs. Often, overtime will be offered by seniority as well. Layoffs generally happen by reverse seniority. It can also play a role in vacation requests.

Each collective agreement will detail how and when your seniority is determined and how seniority affects different parts of your working life. So, familiarize yourself with what seniority means at your workplace and if you have any questions or concerns, speak to your Union Steward or contact your Union Rep.