About the UFCW in Canada


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Policies and Procedures

The UFCW Canadian National Office publishes and updates an official manual of UFCW Canadian Region Policies and Procedures for Local Union reference. This consensus of policy statements has been compiled over a number of years of conferences attended by UFCW members from all parts of the country, and provides the basis for a unified UFCW voice.

Topics covered in the manual include:

These written policies are intended to supplement or elaborate on policies and procedures outlined in the UFCW’s International Constitution as well as in Local Union By-laws, which remain the authroitative documents. Copies of any of these publications can be obtained through UFCW Local Union offices across Canada.

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Union Revenue and Strike Pay

The structure of the UFCW allows not only for strong Local Union autonomy in policies, procedures, and decision-making, but in financial respects as well. For that reason, membership dues vary somewhat from one UFCW Local to another. This permits each Local Union to collect dues based on its members’ needs, although, to ensure the financial well-being of each Local, the minimum dues rate is constitutionally set at double the International’s per-capita tax rate. In most cases, this means tha the majority of union dues stays in the Local in which it is collected to provide the services members feel are necessary.

As of August 1998, our union’s per-capita tax rate is $8.04 per member per month. This money supports the many services of the International Union and the UFCW National Office in Canada outlined in these pages, as well as providing the International’s affiliation payments to the Canadian Labour Congress, the AFL-CIO, and other international bodies to which our union is affiliated. Local unions also pay 30-cents per member per month to the UFCW Canadian Council, in addition to the strike fund.

The UFCW has three funds to support its members in the event of strikes or lockouts. These benefits are not loans, as is the case in some unions. UFCW strike and lockout benefits are payments to members from their dues paid for this purpose.

A number of UFCW Local Unions have their own strike funds in addition to those detailed here. Finally, in some cases, appeals to other Locals as well as to other unions will result in donations to aid strike efforts.

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Political Action and Education

Many parts of Canada have borne witness in recent years to the effects of government for better or for worse. With a government that listens to the voice of working people, working people get the tools they need to improve their lives. When an unfriendly government is elected, working people are quickly stripped of many basic rights.

The kind of government we elect makes a big difference in our work and in our lives. What is gained through negotiation can be lost through legislation.

Adverse labour legislation has been able to restrict union organizing activity, erode collective bargaining rights, and severely limit the protections unions can give members. In some areas, certain workers have even lost their right to form a union.

The people we put into office on election day – in our communities, in our provincial capitals, and in Ottawa – make many important decisions about the way we live. They decide if we can afford decent housing; if we’ll have jobs, or benefits in the absence of jobs; whether our children and elders will be cared for in the facilities they deserve; even if we will continue to receive such basic rights as emergency assistance and medicare.

We’ve learned that the government, not employers, has the final word on these issues. No one can dictate how you vote, but it is our duty to ourselves – and to our families and co-workers – to actively promot the candidate and party who will fight for our objectives. And we’re not alone in thinking this – the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that unions not only have the right to be involved in the political arena, but also have the responsibility to represent members’ interests through political action.

We don’t expect our employers to promote our interests in the workplace. Yet, as Canadians, we have shown a tendency in the past to elect them or their friends to represent us in politics. Their interests are rarely the same as our interests – their agenda for Canada has little in common with our goals.

It’s a sign of healthy democracy when citizens are willing to work for good government. Constructive political action protects our union, thus protecting all our members.

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UFCW Membership Oath

“I, (Member’s name), hereby pledge on my word of honour that I will be true to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and its principles as long as I am a member thereof; that I will faithfully comply with the provisions of the International Constitution and By-laws of this Local Union; that I will consider every one of its members as my friend and brother or sister; that I will not reveal any business or proceedings of any meeting of this union except to those who have a right to such knowledge; that I will comply with the orders, regulations, and laws of this union, and that I will at all times abide by the regulations and decisioins of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union; that should I fail to keep these promises I shall be punished with expulsion from this union.”

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UFCW Steward’s and Local Union Officer’s Oath

“I, (Steward’s or Officer’s name), do solemnly and sincerely pledge, on my word of honour, before the members and other witnesses here assembled, to faithfully perform and diligently execute, to the best of my ability, the duties and responsibilities of the office to which I have been elected, whether constitutional or otherwise, as prescribed by the Constitution and Local Union By-laws of this International Union. I pledge that I will, to the best of my ability, protect and promote the democratic institutions and processes, human rights and liberties, and the highest traditions of social and economic justice for our members in Canada. I pledge to deliver to my successor in office all books, papers, funds, and other property of the International and Local Union that may be in my possession or under my control at the close of my term of office. Further, I pledge at all times to bear true and faithful allegiance to the International and this Local Union and to uphold and support its Constitution and Local By-laws, as becomes a Member and Officer of this union.”

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UFCW International Constitution

The UFCW International Constitution was amended and updated at the UFCW’s quintennial constitutional convention held in Chicago in July 1998. The text of the document will be posted to this site when it becomes available.

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This page last updated 25 August 1998

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