National Council reviews union’s response to COVID-19 pandemic
Toronto – November 5, 2020 – UFCW Canada’s national executive board, the National Council, held its bi-annual meeting on November 4 to review the union’s programs and strategies and discuss UFCW’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic over the last eight months.
Traditionally, the UFCW Canada National Council meets in person twice a year to assess the state of the union, decide on national approaches for empowering members, and develop plans for helping more workers join the union. However, in observance of COVID-19 safety protocols, this was the first time that the council – comprised of dozens of UFCW National and Local Union leaders and representatives – met online.
As part of the meeting, National Council members were updated on the union’s response to the coronavirus pandemic since March 2020, and the steps that UFCW’s Local Unions and National Office have taken to protect the health and safety of members and prevent the spread of the virus in bargaining units across the country.
These measures include the 21 precautions that UFCW Canada and its Local Unions called for in the food retail sector, incorporating everything from personal protective equipment to plexiglass barriers to new signage and customer lists, as well as the 7 measures that UFCW demanded in the meat processing sector, such as modified work stations, slower line speeds, and increased breaks. It was noted that many of these measures have now become industry standards in Canada, ensuring that both unionized and non-unionized workers are protected on the job during COVID-19.
In addition, council members heard from UFCW International President Marc Perrone, who shared the latest updates on the situation facing our brothers and sisters in the United States following Tuesday’s Presidential Election. Team Unite leader and CLC Presidential candidate Bea Bruske and Globe and Mail columnist André Picard also addressed the council.
As well, the UFCW leaders explored our union’s workplace rights, women and gender equity, young workers, training and education, diversity and inclusion, and political action programs, and reviewed a recent study analyzing the benefits of unionization for LGBTQI2S workers. Recent campaign developments and emerging technologies for organizing drives were also examined.
The next UFCW Canada National Council meeting will be held in the spring of 2021.