Over 200 UFCW Canada activists recently met in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for the 24th annual National Defence Fund (NDF) Convention to share industry insights, deliver collective bargaining reports and discuss the NDF advantage.
The convention also gave NDF participants an opportunity to amend the fund’s bylaws by unanimously agreeing to introduce a new benefit for striking or locked out members.
Going forward, striking or locked out UFCW Canada members who participate in the NDF will receive an additional discretionary benefit once they have been on the picket line for over three months. After some discussion, conventioneers determined that the additional $50 benefit will be issued twice per year, on April 15 and August 15 – combining for an extra $100 over and above the regular NDF benefits and services.
The convention also provided UFCW Canada activists from across the country with an opportunity to recognize 200 UFCW Canada Local 1400 members, and NDF participants, who have been locked out by their employer – beef industry giant XL Foods – since last September. Over a dozen locked out XL workers were introduced to the plenary, who welcomed each member with a roaring round of applause. Conventioneers also passed around the hat and raised $2,000 for the local union’s hardship fund.
Delegates got a firsthand look at the 10 month work stoppage by watching a short but powerful documentary video the XL workers brought with them to convention.
“The additional discretionary benefit and the solidarity of our locked out brothers and sisters at XL Foods sends an important message to employers,” says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley, pictured on stage with the XL workers. “Despite the global economic crisis, the NDF is stronger than ever, and it’ll be there for members who are on the picket line for as long as it takes.”
In addition to commending the solidarity of the XL members and the important contribution of the fund, Brother Hanley also spoke about union density and the important role UFCW Canada members can and must play in building bargaining power by fully participating in the growth agenda.
Delegates also screened a new video produced by the National Office that focuses on the NDF’s most recent contributions and achievements. Both the new NDF and XL videos are available on the UFCW Canada YouTube channel, and activists and friends can send a support message to the locked workers by clicking here.