UFCW is the largest private sector union in the province. They have been active in many of the most important labour struggles.
Local 401 is the major component of UFCW in Alberta. They are active in many workplaces from meat packing plants through Safeway grocery stores.
For Locals 401, 1118 and 280P, see also Meatpacking Unions in Alberta
Staff – past and present
O’Halloran, Doug – Doug O’Halloran was president of UFCW Local 401 when he was permanently disabled as a result of a car chase during a first-contract strike at Lakeside Packers.
Dawson, Shane – Shane Dawson was one of the organizers of the long but ultimately successful UFCW, Local 401 unionizing drive at Lakeside Packers from 1997 to 2004.
Duckworth, Archie – Archie Duckworth played a leading role in organizing Lakeside Packers in Brooks in 2004 and the subsequent strike the union fought to win a collective agreement.
LeClaire, Norm – Norm LeClaire spent 30 years as a full-time business agent in packinghouses for UFCW and its predecessor.
Nuako, Sam – Sam Nuako is a Ghanian-born labour relations officer for UFCW who focuses strongly on diversity issues and on encouraging members to always speak up about their concerns.
Brooks Packing Plant
A video about the organizing of the packing plant in Brooks can be viewed here.
A video about the 2005 strike to achieve a First Contract at the Brooks plant can be viewed here.
Lacson, Emmanuel (Manny) -Manny Lacson is an immigrant worker from the Philippines who became active in a UFCW Local 401 union organizing drive at Lakeside Packers and then in two strikes in 2005.
Ft. McMurray Camp Services
Fiddler, Angela – Angela Fiddler, a member of the Waterhen Cree Nation, faced racism in oilsands’ work camps and was able, as a shop steward for UFCW Local 401, to bargain for Indigenous rights to worship in the camps.
Local 1118 represented the workers at the meat packing plant in Red Deer. In 2017, local 1118 merged with Local 401.
The plant was involved in a major strike in 1986, when it was owned by Fletcher’s meats. A video about this and other strikes in the summer of ’86 can be viewed here.
Local 1118 was able to achieve landmark contract language protecting Temporary Foreign Workers in the plant, as documented in the video here.
Covey, Wayne – Long-time UFCW, Local 1118 employee Wayne Covey played the lead role in coordinating strike action among meatpacking workers in Alberta in 1986, including strikes at Gainers in Edmonton and Fletchers in Red Deer.
Johnson, Albert – Albert Johnson was president of UFCW Local 1118 from 1986 to 2014, and his notable accomplishments included a successful strike against Fletchers Fine Foods in 1986 and winning rights for temporary foreign workers hired by meatpacking plants covered by Local 1118.
Kanu, Mohamed – Refugee from Sierra Leone who studied in Cuba before taking up residence in Red Deer. UFCW-appointed Safety Representative at a meat processing plant who upholds union advocacy and training.
Lopez, Oscar – While a temporary foreign worker at Olymel in Red Deer, Oscar Lopez assumed the role on behalf of UFCW Local 1118 of persuading management against imposing penalties on workers who failed to follow instructions because of language issues.
Local 280P represented the workers at the meat packing plant on 66 Street in Edmonton, which was owned by Swift’s, Gainers then Maple Leaf. The plant closed in 1998.
A video about the history of this plant can be viewed here.
The plant was involved in a major strike in 1986. A video about this and other strikes in the summer of ’86 can be viewed here
Local 120S represented the workers at the Great Western Garments plant in Edmonton, which shut down in 2004.
A website about the history of the GWG plant can be viewed from here.
Maria Dunn has written a new song about the COVID related deaths in Alberta’s Meatpacking plants. Listen to it here.
Myrna Kostash has written about her grandfather’s life and work in the Edmonton packing plants. Read it here.