Canada's best union wraps up first phase of 2013 Youth Internship Program

YIP Ontario Cohort

Back Row (L-R): Branko Serdar, Local 1000A; Enver Harbans, National Office; Jessica Spooner, Local 1000A; Frank Curto, Local 175; Marv Funk, National Office; Alana Panday,
Local 1000A;

Front Row (L-R): Tina Lafreniere, Local 175; Nickia Walker, Local 175; Sergey Zhitarev, Local 1000A; Rob Howe,
Local 12R24.

YIP Western Cohort

Back Row (L-R) Junie Chong Local 1518; Risa Maeda, Local 1518; Tyler Hagan, Local 1118; Logan Torrie, Local 401; Oleksii Saksagon, Local 1118; Ryan Melanson, Local 401; Enver Harbans, National Office; Lauren Hill, Local 1118.

Front Row (L-R): Brittany Roche, Local 1518; Laura Cipolato, Local 1518; Connie Li, Local 1518; Shirley-Anne Arandela, Local 1518; Jason Lam, Local 1518; Larysa Thiskova, Local 1118; Michelle Tam, Local 1118.

Harrison Hot Springs, B.C. – August 20, 2013 – UFCW Canada’s premier youth training and education program, the Youth Internship Program (YIP), recently wrapped up its 2013 sessions with stops in all four regions of the country. As unions struggle against unprecedented attacks by governments and corporations across Canada, building youth leadership skills for young activists is more important than ever.

Over the summer months the YIP trained almost fifty young members from coast to coast on important topics such as globalization, grass roots organizing, the history of the union, media literacy, social justice, and the economy.

Young members shared their vision of what a united labour movement can accomplish for workers and discussed the vital role that unions play from Moncton, New Brunswick to Coquitlam, B.C.

Reflecting on her experience in the youth program, Local 1400 shop steward Amarjeet Singh said, "The YIP expanded my knowledge of the relationship between employers, unions, and workers. I commend UFCW Canada for actively engaging and informing members like myself on these important issues." Echoing Amarjeet’s remarks, Local 1518 youth member Connie Li said, "Having the opportunity to come out and be involved in a program like this was a great experience. I had an awesome week and I can proudly support my union knowing that they support the members."

UFCW Canada’s National Office is now preparing to have YIP 2013 cohorts apply their learnt skills in practical ways through the Phase Two portion of the program. In this phase young members will engage in activities related to community-building projects and other union-specific campaigns. Young activists and members will be participating in this practical training in Fall 2013.

"None of our exemplary training programs would be possible without the consistent and ongoing participation of our Local Unions, and I would like to thank them for their continued support of YIP and the young leaders that we engage,"says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley. "We constantly strive to provide education and mentorship opportunities for youth activists to ensure that the strength of our great union and the knowledge and skills of young UFCW Canada members continue to grow."