Long-time member Perri Garvin (right) receives his 401 retirement ring from UFCW admin Arlene

Long-time 401 Member & United Way Worker Advocate Retires

January 10, 2020 – It is with great joy that we congratulate 43-year member of UFCW Local 401 on his well-earned retirement.

Perri Garvin has been a UFCW member since he first started at Super Valu in Kelowna, BC in 1976. In March of 1978 he moved to Edmonton and began working at Lucerne Foods Ice Cream Plant (now Agropur). He started in cleanup and spent the next 23 years doing nearly all of the jobs throughout the plant, leaving his final position as Pasteurizer in April 2000.

During his time at Lucerne, Perri was a strong voice for working people and served on some of Local 401’s committees, including political action and occupational health and safety. He also played a vital role in organizing and participating in events like Day of Mourning, always focused on creating and shaping safer workplaces for all. But it was his involvement in the Labour Community Advocate program (formerly “Union Counselor Program”) that propelled him into a career that he flourished in for the next 20 years.

Perri got started with his transition from dairy worker to his new career through the Edmonton & District Labour Council (EDLC) in the early 90’s. Taking the Labour Community Advocate Course in 1985, he found it was an invaluable tool in helping fellow union members who were going through challenging life events. In 1995, he embraced the role of chairing the Community Services Committee for the EDLC and began developing a more streamlined Labour Community Advocate (LAC) course. The committee began putting on an annual LCA Conference, identifying issues important to the workplace and our union.

He proved himself so successful in these contributions to working Albertans, that in April of 2000 he was hired by the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region as their new Labour Coordinator.  He thrived in the role and began approaching unions and encouraging them to have their members trained in the Labour Community Advocate program. For the past 19 years he has trained nearly 1000 people! Perri’s work included presenting to unions on important subjects such as mental health in the workplace, domestic violence, and also delivered diverse programs such as the Cut it Out Program for hair stylists.  His dedication to delivering the best to all he instructed meant he spent many hours learning new ways of delivering the information he had learned over the years.

His list of beneficiaries of his knowledge included members of countless unions across Alberta. Having worked with many of these unions over the years, he served as a navigator in assisting union leaders and their members in finding available resources within the community where they previously did not know where to go. His experience and insight were invaluable to many unions over the years to help provide added support for their members.

Loving travel, photography, and connecting with all those he meets, Perri and his sweetheart plan to explore North America, upon his retirement in May, and to embrace what the wind brings them.

Perri, we are thrilled for your new chapter and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you’ve done for working people across this great province, including your fellow 401 members. Congratulations on your retirement and we look forward to seeing your warm smile next time you’re home to share your exploration and adventures.


The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401 is Alberta’s largest private-sector union with 32,000 members working in diverse industries such as retail, food processing, beverage production, hospitality, gaming, and education. We are part of the 1.3-million-member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, representing working people across North America.