While it had already been a full day visiting members at Superstore, Safeway, Cavendish Farms, and Maple Leaf in Lethbridge, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a stop on our way to Medicine Hat.

In our union, every member matters, whether they work in a giant 2,000-person plant or a smaller workplace, like the Co-Op in Taber. It never ceases to amaze us how constant the issues facing our members are, regardless of where they live in the province.

While the members at the Taber Co-Op were happy to chat, they also talked about the challenges of paying bills as the costs of things like food, gas, and utilities continuing to rise. President Hesse reminded the members that things like limiting the cost of electricity in Alberta are fundamentally political decisions.

“We’ve heard about the rising cost of living from all of our members, and I keep reminding folks that we have a provincial election coming up,” said President Thomas Hesse. “Whether we’re talking about issues like the cost of goods, childcare, or sick days, we need to remember that action on those issues happens when we elect governments that care about them and working people.”

After a wonderful stop in Taber, it was time to make our way to Medicine Hat to meet up with our Shop Stewards and Activists in that city. Secretary Treasurer Richelle Stewart thanked everyone present for the vital roles they play in building strong union workplaces.

“You ARE the union,” emphasized Treasurer Stewart. “Our union isn’t some separate thing floating around out there. Our members are our union. The strongest and most experienced members, like all of you, help to ensure we stand as one strong team and work together to achieve amazing things!”

The next day, we had another opportunity to speak with members in their workplaces, visiting Superstore, Co-Op, and Safeway locations throughout town. It was truly special to speak to so many long-time members who shared their stories about watching our union change and grow over the years.

At the Division Avenue Safeway, we met Bob, an over 40-year member who was preparing for retirement in the coming months.

Speaking about his decades-long career with Safeway and the benefits of being a UFCW Local 401 union member, Bob noted, “I get a good wage, seven weeks of vacation, and a pension that will support me when I retire. Where else are you going to get that?”

Stories like Bob’s remind us why we do what we do, fighting to improve the lives of working people and ensure they have access to the opportunities we all want.

It was heart-warming and inspiring to speak with so many members in Lethbridge, Taber, and Medicine Hat. We want all of our members to know that by standing strong as one team, UFCW Local 401 union members can achieve incredible victories.

We look forward to visiting other parts of the province and telling you all about it!