The role of retirees in Unifor is growing, with new Retired Workers Chapters formed or in the works across Canada, Unifor’s annual Retired Workers Council heard.
“Let’s keep growing this,” Council Chair Les McDonald said in his report to the council. “My hope is to see new chapters formed across the country.”
Council was held the week of Labour Day and included marching in the Port Elgin Labour Day parade. The parade was coordinated with the Grey Bruce Labour Council, and included the Power Workers Union, teacher’s unions, the SEIU and other unions and community groups. All were invited to the Family Education Centre for a post-parade barbeque.
“We really want this to be a community event,” said Barb Dolan, Retired Workers Director.
It was a busy week for those attending the council, which opened the night before Labour Day and concluded the Friday after. Resolutions passed included support for a national pharmacare program, stronger pensions, and the push for trade deals that put working people first.
Atlantic Regional Director Lana Payne said retirees will play a key role in the political campaigns of the union, especially on files such as pharmacare and pensions in which their own life experiences will help illustrate the need for reform.
“Your voices, your stories, your activism will drive this forward,” she said.
There was also a presentation from Clara Fitzgerald, Director of the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging at Western University, on the importance of remaining active in retirement. It was a message many in attendance welcomed.
Jenny Ahn, Assistant to the National Secretary Treasurer, was also on hand to address Council delegate. Ahn outlined many of the issues in which retirees can add their voices, including trade, Indigenous issues, equity, freedom of the press, workers’ rights and more. “You get it. You know why the political work of our union is so important and I want to thank you for everything that you do,” she said.
The Council also elected a new executive: Les McDonald Local 222, Chair; Roger Lee Local 1451, Vice-Chair; Jean Simpson Local 1520, Secretary; and Gary Parent Local 444, Sandy Carricato Local 1090, Michel Thibault Local 698, Brian McDonald Local 598, Dave McDonnell Local 10-B, Tony Sisti Local 1973 and Maria Pinto Local 673, Members-at-Large.