Calgary – March 7, 2015 – UFCW Canada activists from across the country recently gathered in Calgary for the first-ever regional Organizing for Women Activists Workshop. The workshop, from February 23 – 27, 2015, was based on the success of a pilot workshop 18 months ago. Participants had the opportunity to learn and discuss the steps of an organizing drive and new strategies to organizing.
A total of fourteen participants from Locals 248P, 649, 401, 500, 1400 and the National Office discussed challenges that women organizers face, the barriers to organizing women and other equity-seeking groups, and strategies that have succeeded in helping the yet-to-be-organized bring a union to their workplace.
Participants also learned about the difference in labour laws from province-to-province, and how the different legislations impact on organizing in particular locations. Leading the workshops was UFCW Canada’s national coordinator for Strategic Campaigns, Debora De Angelis. Other presenters during the five-day workshop included Local 401 organizer Joe Irving, Local 401 director Chris O’Halloran, and labour lawyer Robert Szollosy.
The feedback from the workshop was extremely positive. “It was a very engaging week, with a lot of space for discussion and sharing of experiences,” said one of the sister activists. “Having to learn the various labour laws and explain it to each other in group presentations through role playing was great in ensuring that we know the facts, and also in building our confidence in talking to each other and potential members.”
As another sister explained, “It was a great opportunity to meet activists from other provinces to discuss the difference in labour laws, cultures, and organizing strategies. We’re fortunate to be in an organization which makes a positive difference and works to improve the lives of others.”
Details of the next regional Organizing for Women Activists will be scheduled in the near future. For more information about the workshop content, or interest in a future workshop, please contact Debora De Angelis at the National Office, Debora@ufcw.ca.