From September 11-14th Local 199 Women’s Committee chair, Kate Semenchuk and I attended Unifor’s Women’s Conference in Port Elgin. Women’s Department Director, Tracey Ramsay, kicked off the four day conference which was attended by more 350 delegates from across Canada making it the biggest Women’s Conference ever! The theme was “Feminists At Work: We Are Unstoppable” and focused on connecting Unifor members with other sisters to create new and grow current support networks.
The conference featured speakers, hands on learning and development, moments of reflection, calls to action and engaging panels on racial justice and political action.
Some of our highlights include:
Newly elected – first ever woman National President – Lana Payne addressed delegates and inspired a room full of sisters to continue fighting as we represent workers from across the country. Check out her full address here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlZlKifLbkU
We heard from Canadian Economist, Armine Yalnizyan, who spoke about Care Economy and of what population shifts will mean for our futures.
One of the panels featured was Women in Politics which saw experienced elected officials and political candidates discuss their experiences with running for office and being a woman holding office. Peggy Nash, former NDP Member of Parliament, lead the panel and also spoke to delegates about the importance of unionized women fighting for political change.
The second panel, led by Unifor Director of Human Rights Christine Maclin was a discussion with Racial Justice Advocates and Liaisons from different regions on the importance of recognizing intersectional challenges faced by Black, Indigenous and women of colour.
Kate and I took part in the Young Workers Caucus where we met with other sisters to talk about the challenges of engaging a new workforce and shared practical ideas that we can take back to our locals.
One of our favourite things was the Child Care Victory celebration on the Tuesday night – here sisters came together to celebrate the recent adoption of a national child care program by every province and territory which marks a definitive victory for working women!
Lastly we want to leave you with inspiration from our new dear friend, Racial Justice Advocate Peycke Roan from Local 975 who called on all sisters to be involved in racial justice and equity. “Allyship is not a gym membership – you have to show up.” So – if you are interested in getting involved with Local 199’s Women’s Committee, keep an eye out for the upcoming call for new members! We would love to see our sisters show up as we continue to do great things and build community! Feel free to reach out to myself or Kate with any questions about the conference or the Women’s Committee.
For more information on the conference visit https://www.unifor.org/news/all-news/unstoppable-women-unifor-celebrate-child-care-victory-2022-womens-conference
For updates from the Women’s Department visit https://www.unifor.org/resources/equity/women and sign up for their mailing list
Employment Equity Rep & Women’s Advocate
Unifor Local 199 General Motors Unit