L-R: UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley; Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger; UFCW Canada Local 832 President Robert Ziegler
With a federal election on the horizon, and a Manitoba provincial election slated for the fall, getting involved in politics was the top of the agenda at the UFCW Canada Local 832 Annual Policy Convention and Stewards Conference held recently in Winnipeg.
The more than 200 delegates to the Stewards Conference were welcomed by UFCW Canada Local 832 President Robert Ziegler who urged the attendees to make their voices heard at the grassroots and campaign level in the upcoming elections. The Local 832 president then introduced Manitoba NDP Premier Greg Selinger who spoke about the issues facing Manitoba workers and families, and the need to engage in politics to keep those issues front and forward — in the community, and in a legislature that is up for election this fall. A series of successive NDP governments have led Manitoba since 1999.
What can happen when a labour-friendly government is replaced by one that’s not was spelled out by UFCW Canada Local 1400 President Norm Neault. The Local 1400 leader told the conference how reversing Saskatchewan’s progressive labour legislation was the first act Premier Brad Wall legislated when his Saskatchewan Party replaced the NDP provincial
Manitoba Minister of Labour Jennifer Howard
Manitoba’s Minister of Labour, Jennifer Howard, also joined the conference on a panel discussing how and why to get involved in politics to protect the rights of working people. Joining Minister Howard was President Ziegler, UFCW Canada Local 832 negotiator Michelle Masserey, and UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley who brought to the conference up to speed about the attack on labour and collective bargaining rights in Minnesota and other American jurisdictions where anti-labour politicians are now in control.
The national president told the audience that what is happening south of the border could also happen in Canada, unless working Canadians get politically active.
“I’m grateful to be in the company of men and women who are committed to workers’ rights and democracy, and are willing to defend those principles in the workplace and in the community,” says Brother Hanley. “We cannot be complacent. We cannot afford to lose, because what’s happening to our American brothers and sisters will happen here. Over the next year and beyond, at the national level and at the local level we have to get the vote out at all elections. The goal is to make sure the people who say YES to a fair, socially balanced society don’t stay home, but get out and vote.”
Vol. XI No. 15 • April 11, 2011