President's Message

Brant PalkoUFCW Canada Local 649 is dedicated to ensuring that your employer respects dignity, equality, and safety in the workplace. We are here to help you achieve job security and receive fair treatment at work. Bargaining good contracts and benefits is part of that, as well as making sure that your rights as a worker – under the law and under your contract – are respected.

Local 649 is part of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada) — the country’s leading and most progressive union, representing more than a quarter of a million workers across the country. We are all working together to build a better future for UFCW members, their families, and their communities.

As a UFCW member, you will always have an advocate and someone on your side. If you have a problem at work or a question about what you are entitled to, your shop steward or executive member is there to help you. You have a voice at work and the power to shape your future. But strong member participation is the key to a strong union local, so I encourage you to talk to your union representatives. Learn about your rights, attend union meetings and events, and make your voice heard.

Remember, YOU are the union! The union is member-led and member-run. Our union leaders are rank-and-file members – elected by other members – whose sole purpose is to support the membership.

  • Together, you and your coworkers make up your union;

  • Members sit on your negotiating committee to negotiate fair contracts;

  • You vote on whether or not you want to adopt your collective agreement; 

  • You also elect shop stewards and officers such as President, Secretary-Treasurer, etc.

We all fare better when we work together. Standing up for your co-worker, your neighbour, the disenfranchised, the vulnerable, and anyone who needs support is the only way to make your workplace and your community stronger.

I firmly believe that there is no greater purpose than to be of service to others. When unions stand up for fairness, they raise the bar for everyone. Many of the rights that were first won by unions are enjoyed by all workers today, whether or not they are part of a union. The minimum wage, overtime pay, workplace safety standards, maternity and parental leave, vacation pay, and protection from discrimination and harassment are all examples of rights that unions fought hard to win for everyone. But with the political climate that we are seeing around the globe, we need to work to maintain those rights.

I encourage you to visit our website regularly to find out about the latest union news, apply for scholarships, and learn about upcoming events. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Together, let’s work together to build a fairer workplace and a stronger community for all.

In solidarity,

Brant Palko
UFCW Canada Local 649