Strength in Numbers at Olymel

Strength in Numbers – Olymel Steward Numbers Grow

On September 19th, Olymel workers received a boost to their collective strength when their UFCW Local 401 doubled the number of department union shop stewards and conducted training.

With this newly trained group of worker advocates, Olymel members have representation throughout the plant they can count on. There is now representation in every department that ensures everyone has a dedicated union steward to help when needed. Both day and afternoon shifts have representation throughout the plant.

The coverage that is in place today is significant for the member experience as it encourages greater member engagement and fosters a psychologically safe workplace because members have an ally in their department union steward to speak up without fear. A strong steward base is essential to a healthy workplace because they are the members’ first line of defense regarding workplace issues. 

The course facilitator, UFCW Canada National Representative Joe Pereira, was enthusiastic in his praise for this group of people and those who helped to make this happen.

The level of eagerness, commitment, and hunger to learn from this group is inspiring. It is evident that there are strong leaders in this steward group, and that is critical to the health of our union. The stewards are thankful to President Thomas Hesse and Secretary Treasurer Richelle Stewart for making it happen.

What did a few of the participants have to say?

“The training was very important and instructive. There was a lot that I learned that I did not know. It prepared me better for when I am back on the floor. The instructors were very informative. They answered every question and gave an answer to every doubt in my head.”

– Aurora Speville

“I enjoyed the stories as they gave real reflection on what can happen in a situation. Also was nice to touch on some of the technical aspects and how to address them.”

– Taylor Rittinger

“The training was very informative! It helped me understand how important my job as a Union Representative is and I have a much better understanding of my role as a Steward. What stood out to me the most was the need for better communication in how Foremen communicate with employees.

Mahsi Cho/Thank you.”

– Theresa Levesque

“UFCW Local 401 and President Hesse ensured training that covered the basics of being a Shop Steward, the grievance procedure, proper note taking, among other important things. This is exciting because it is important that stewards have the ability to begin with solid training to help the membership.”

– Brad Keith