YIP 2011 Prairie Region participants:
From across the Western provinces, 15 young UFCW Canada activists recently gathered in Manitoba to sharpen their community organizing talents, learn new skills to help their fellow workers, and to prepare to make a difference in the political arena.
Youth member activists from UFCW Canada Locals 1869, 832, 1400 and Local 342P met up in Gimli, Manitoba from August 21 to 26 for UFCW Canada's Youth Internship Program (YIP), which over the years has proved a valuable training ground in strengthening the activist culture and contribution of young UFCW Canada members to their local unions.
The Prairie Regional YIP gathering was facilitated by national representative Lily Olson, with the assistance of YIP graduate Gabriel Bako from Local 832. Over the week, the newest YIP candidates learned about growing their union through organizing strategies and exercises (including a probing exercise at a local grocery retailer), and also about the importance of political action to support the growth environment.
"The YIP contingent really got engaged with a full day of Political Action campaign and election training," says Sister Olson. “With provincial elections in Manitoba and Saskatchewan this fall and other elections across the country, the YIP activists left the course ready and excited to get involved to support parties that support working people and the union movement."
The YIP contingent also left more engaged in their own union through workshops on the history of UFCW Canada and the labour movement; on the impact of globalization on working people and unions; and workshops on Collective Bargaining, Health and Safety, and an introduction to Shop Steward training.
"I had a lot of fun learning the importance of being a part of a trade union, the political process and the effects it can have on our day to day lives," said UFCW Canada Local 1400 member Troy Cruikshank, who works at the Real Canadian Wholesale Club in Saskatoon. "I think it is so important for young UFCW Canada members to be involved with programs like YIP. It is the perfect gateway to becoming more involved in UFCW Canada and in the community."
For UFCW Canada Local 832 member Amy Weins, who works at the Fairmont Hotel in Winnipeg, "we got to learn so much about the history behind the labour movement,to what's happening now and how it affects everyone these days. The whole experience was interactive and made you think about how we can make a difference in our union and in the community."
The YIP 2011 season concludes with Atlantic Regional YIP gathering, October 16-21 in Memramcook, New Brunswick. Young members interested in participating in the Youth Internship Program are advised to contact their local union office.