To: Local union presidents, recording secretaries, treasurers, NEB, national staff
Re: A holiday message to our Unifor family
We can hardly believe that it is mid-December and that 2021 is about to come to a close. We have all had a busy, tiring, eventful year that was full of both challenges and victories.
As we end another year under the cloud of this pandemic, we reflect on our new normal and the many ways your unwavering solidarity persevered. Workers fought back this year, and in many cases, they won.
Whether you spent the year working on the frontlines and supporting the important services that kept everyone safe, cared for and fed, or whether you have been working from home, we know that this year has been like no other.
Many Unifor members stood proudly on picket lines, while others made incredible gains in bargaining that will secure better working conditions for the next generation of workers.
Our union pushed governments at all levels to deliver support for all working people. We fought for paid sick days and campaigned for a better employment insurance program that works for workers. We fought for investments in sectors that employ Unifor members including airlines, the auto industry’s shift to electric vehicle production, hospitality, gaming, offshore oil and gas and many others.
We welcomed new members to our union across the country and we had a precedent-setting year in fighting back with a record number of labour disputes.
Together, we stopped an anti-worker conservative government from taking power in Ottawa and started a national conversation about the need for anti-scab legislation, which made its way onto three party platforms.
We took meaningful action on racial justice and reconciliation and renewed our commitment to do our part to end violence against women including by bargaining equality everywhere.
Despite our collective hopes, the pandemic is not yet over and will still be a factor in all of our planning and organizing into 2022.
It is important to remember, in crisis, we fought and we organized. We are incredibly thankful to all of you: Unifor leaders, activists, members and staff. Each of you has contributed to building this union, and give us hope that together, we will tackle any challenge that comes our way with strength and resolve.
Save the date! 2022 Constitutional Convention
We are thrilled to announce that we have begun planning for Unifor’s 2022 Constitutional Convention, which is scheduled to take place from August 8 to 12 in Toronto, Ontario.
As you can imagine, we are navigating the complicated uncertainties that will allow us to come together for our union’s Convention. Local unions can expect a call letter in the New Year. As always, we will be following the advice of public health agencies with regards to large gatherings, and making all adequate preparations to ensure a safe gathering for all.
We look forward to seeing you there.
All Unifor safety protocols still in place
We continue to monitor the global COVID-19 situation on a daily basis, and are well aware of the appearance of the Omicron variant. Canadian authorities have said it will take weeks to understand the risks, which means that we have entered a new phase of uncertainty around how this pandemic will play out.
For the time being, Unifor will continue with the current plan to slowly transition back into our National and Regional offices. We will be asking everyone to remain vigilant throughout the coming weeks and months.
If you are feeling ill, do not come to any Unifor office or event. The required self-assessment questionnaire is still in effect. The vaccine mandate, mask requirements in Unifor offices are still in effect, so is contact tracing and physical distancing. Our ability to hold online meetings in the coming months is still available to our staff and locals, if required.
This is no time to take safety protocols lightly, and we ask that all of our local unions respect the pandemic protocols in place.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please be in touch. We have the ability to help you work through challenges and difficult situations. We have committees and resources in place to help people navigate through this new and continued uncertainty.
Be safe, and enjoy the holidays
Our National and Regional offices will be closed from December 17 to January 3. We know that many of you will continue to be in contact with your National Representatives and some of your members during this time, as some urgent and timely issues arise. We do hope that you can use this time to take a well-deserved break and spend time, safely, with your family and loved ones.
Together, we have navigated almost two years of this pandemic. It has been tough and heartbreaking.
In all the darkness, there have been many moments of inspiration and struggle. We hope you can reflect on those moments over the holidays and know that we have made a difference in people’s lives because of our collective work.
We want to wish you all joy, rest, peace and solidarity this holiday season.
Jerry Dias Lana Payne Renaud Gagné
National President National Secretary-Treasurer Québec Director