For the first time in Unifor’s history, activists from every region of the country participated in a national political action conference.
With the theme and goal of transitioning our campaigns from resistance to taking power; local, provincial, and national organizers came together from September 29 – October 1 at the Unifor Family Education Centre. The national campaigns for #ABetterNAFTA and national pharmacare plan were front and centre.
“This conference was a space to educate, build skills, and to organize collaboratively,” said Rolly Kiehne, Membership Mobilization and Political Action Director. “We’re ready. When Unifor hits the streets with the campaigns and lobbying developed here, we will win.”
The weekend included an energizing opening with a keynote by Desmond Cole, motivating participants to actively challenge anti-Black racism and engage in systemic change for the most vulnerable, “If we can provide support, comfort and care for the most vulnerable people among us then we are raising up humanity itself.”
In a detailed panel led by Matt Price, Organizer, and author of ‘Engagement Organizing: The Old Art and New Science of Winning Campaigns’, delegates and presenters broke down strategies and tactics to win campaign at all levels. The panel included experiences from Logan McIntosh of Leadnow.ca, Unifor’s own Gavin McGarrigle and Krista Lee Munro, and Pam Frache of the Worker’s Action Centre and the $15 and Fairness campaign.
Delegates were engaged by Zack Exley’s candid presentation on big organizing in the Bernie Sanders for President Campaign, as he pushed folks to picture what the end goal of labour’s progressive organizing truly is. Unifor members heard the current issues across the country from Regional Directors Joie Warnock, Naureen Rizvi, and Lana Payne.
Unifor National President Jerry Dias showed the room why now is the time to push for the change workers’ need on NAFTA, and how that work is already having an effect. “We all come together because we know that we are stronger together. How do we deal with the fact that we’re living in a country that doesn’t get it right. We mobilize!”