UFCW Canada Human Rights Committee

The UFCW Canada National Council Human Rights, Equity & Diversity (HRED) Committee met recently in Winnipeg, Manitoba for the first of two yearly meetings.  Naveen Mehta, director of UFCW Canada’s HRED Department is also the chair of the committee. In addition to the comprehensive reports from the social justice initiatives and community outreach being conducted by the National Office and Local unions across Canada, the HRED Committee welcomed several impassioned guest speakers from organizations with whom UFCW Canada works. 

“Connecting community groups, NGOs and social justice activists to our National Committee, and the Local Unions they represent, are a primary focus.  The UFCW Canada HRED Committee strongly believes that if we are to achieve progressive social and economic targets we can only do so if we work directly with sisters and brothers from like-minded organizations,” said Brother Mehta.  “If there is one thing we know as trade unionists it is that our true strength lies in working collectively. Such strength should never be underestimated.” 

Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (FNCFCS), gave a powerful presentation about some of  FNCFCS’s current initiatives:  Jordan’s Principle, Shannen’s Dream,

I am a Witness Campaign, and Touchstones of Hope.  She urged the committee to disseminate information


about these national initiatives to their respective Local unions and membership.  Committee members also took the time to sign up online for the I am a Witness campaign and expressed their intent to encourage other UFCW members to sign up as well. 

“I was quite moved by Cindy’s presentation,” said Local 1000A Secretary Treasurer and HRED Committee Member Tony Soares.  “It really brought home the extraordinary inequities that exist in the treatment and services available to

aboriginal children across Canada as compared to non-aboriginal children.  It is a national disgrace that has only become worse under the Harper Tories.”

Ricardo De Menezes, the UFCW Canada Local 401 representative from Alberta on the HRED committee, was “impressed by the progressive legislation that had been achieved when you elect a labour-friendly government such as in Manitoba. “In Alberta, we have a very anti-labour government. Legislation that actually provides comprehensive safeguards for working families is still an unrealized dream.”   

As well, the HRED Committee also had the chance to meet with Miguel Dominguez, uncle of Juan Diego Mosquera of Colombia who was one of the winners of exceptionally successful UFCW Canada’s 2010 Migrant Workers Scholarships.  A former member of UFCW Canada Local 832, Dominguez was publicly acknowledged and congratulated by Local 832 President, Robert Ziegler.