Active, engaged members are the heart of any union. That’s why UFCW 1518 has been focused on increasing involvement and participation of members. In 2014, the union struck a working group to envision ways to boost member engagement in an effort to improve the effectiveness and relevance of our work. Creating a stronger sense of ownership over the union and meaningfully involving members in issues that matter to them were key objectives.
“We knew we needed to explore new ways of connecting with our members,” says Nan Fredericks, executive board member and chair of the Women’s Committee. “We had to figure out how to be relevant to the younger generations and help them understand that they have input into our union, that their voice is important. We need to hear from them as much as they need to hear from us.”
To that end, the Women’s Committee reached out to members of all ages by hosting an annual picnic. Now in its fourth year, the UFCW 1518 picnic attracts upwards of 400 members and their families to Queens Park in New Westminster. “We have multi-generational workplaces everywhere,” explains Fredericks. “The picnic is a chance for all of our members to connect on a social level. From there, we hope they will be encouraged to become more involved – to participate in the union at the store or unit level, or come out to a union meeting.”
The success of the annual picnic inspired executive board members to organize union-sponsored social events in their home communities. “We now participate in Pride in Nelson, Prince George, Victoria and Vancouver. And there are Christmas parties in Kelowna and Prince George, as well as the one we co-host with UFCW 247 in Burnaby every year,” Fredericks says.
“We talk to everyone,” she adds. “We try to be as welcoming as possible and show a different side of the union. It’s important to highlight that although we come from different sectors and communities, we’re all UFCW 1518 members. People are really responsive to being welcomed.”
If you would like to help organize a UFCW 1518 social event in your community, please contact your union representative.