Unifor Recreation Council works to build engagement and union solidarity

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Unifor National Recreation Council members.

Building membership engagement and union solidarity through social, sport and leisure activities was a key topic of discussion at the Unifor National Recreation Council meeting, held Oct.28-30 in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Recreational committee members from locals across Ontario and Manitoba gathered to strategize on outreach and diversification of activities to improve communication with members and increase participation.

“As union members we are not just co-workers we are also part of the Unifor family. Coming together to partake in recreational events provides the opportunity for members to relate to each other to form bonds and friendships while sharing an enjoyable activity,” said Bill Apsey, Unifor Recreation Council Chair, Local 1285.

The Unifor Recreation Council organizes a variety of activities in their local areas including bowling, curling, darts, card tournaments, hockey, cooking competitions, BBQ’s and golf tournaments, to name a few, and larger regional events including Unifor days at Canada’s Wonderland and the Pacific National Exhibition.

“The goal is to provide access to events at a reasonable cost, especially for the family-focused events where members are bringing their partners and children,” said Kevin Forbes, Recreation Council Vice-Chair, Local 707.

Recreation representatives are facing the challenges of resuming in-person events after a lengthy period of cancellations due to COVID restrictions. The pandemic also led to the creation of several online activities, which proved to be successful.

“COVID changed the way that we interact and while we welcome the return of in-person gatherings our online functions enabled us to bring people together from across the country and we will continue to explore exciting virtual options going forward,” said Luke Cranston, Recreation Council Recording Secretary, Local 4207. 

Ontario MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls, Fort Erie & Niagara-on-the-Lake) addressed the Recreation Council meeting, sharing his insights as former Local 199 union recreation chair.

The delegates committed to working to set up Recreation Area Councils in all regions where Unifor has a density of members. Discussions were also held on expanding the scope of activities to include new events to appeal to the union’s diverse membership.

“It’s important for us to reflect the interests of our members and to continue to grow to allow more workers to connect to each other,” said Pam Strong, Recreation Council Retired Worker Delegate, Local 200.

For more information or to share suggestions please contact the National Recreation Council at @email.