Local 175 Founded in 1953
Local 633 Founded in 1948
Proud, Strong and United – The Local Union for All Workers
The story of UFCW Locals 175 & 633 is one of solidarity, creativity and sheer determination. Overcoming countless odds, our Union has grown from a small group of cashiers, meat cutters and food handlers to one of the largest Locals in Canada, with members in virtually every sector of the private industry.
Our Locals started out as the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America Local 633, and originally only the meat cutters in grocery stores were being organized. Through the certification of Steinberg stores across the province of Ontario, the retail clerks also became members and with them Local 175 was created to represent these workers while retaining Local 633 to honour the craft of meat cutters.
Local 175 was then built upon by the collective efforts of those who saw the necessity to grow as a Local Union. Many mergers have taken place over the years to ensure the best quality representation and access to resources for our membership. The diversification of the Local Union is important for collective bargaining but also for growth. There is strength in numbers. Our large Locals provide us with the resources to negotiate better agreements with the collective strength of our members behind us.
Since our inception, the focus has remained the same throughout: our members and the advancement of the labour movement. Over the years we have continuously adjusted to benefit and meet the ever-changing needs of our members. When you are a large Local there are unique challenges, but what is important are the relationships you have with your members, and that each one knows that you are there to work for them. With the position of our Locals, we are able to provide a full spectrum of services.
The history of a Union is that of its members’ ongoing struggle for fairness, equality and social justice – collectively striving for dignity, respect and safety for all workers. Every worker has the right to be heard in an economy that relies on their hard work but would otherwise not give them a voice. Solidarity is strengthened through empowerment.
Locals 175 & 633 understand the importance of worker solidarity especially in a political climate that is becoming increasingly anti-worker. With our members at the forefront of every decision, our Union believes that our strength lies in our ability to challenge those in power. It’s no secret that governments, from the municipal and provincial levels all way up to the federal level have a history of attacking unions. We are leaders in the political arena and we are leaders in the labour movement. Going forward we will continue to lobby and fight the conservative right-wing agenda so that we can move our membership forward.
Today our Local stands on a strong base established by some of North America’s greatest labour organizations. The strength and size of our membership comes from mergers with other labour organizations and organizing non-union workers, bringing together diverse yet related unions to become stronger through a united front. From the harvest to the dinner table; from the oceans and forests to the urban core; even from the cradle to the grave our members work in such a wide range of sectors and workplaces that they are always nearby.
What does the future hold for our Locals? We’re going to continue to organize and continue to empower our membership. We are going to continue to write a history that will build on our past. We are and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the labour movement. In every city in this province, we will be looked upon as the Local Union that represents all workers in every sector.
UFCW Locals 175 & 633 are over 70,000 members strong and our strength lies in our diverse membership. Covering almost every sector in the private industry, our Locals are proud to be a fighting force in today’s economy. Our past may have defined us, but it is our future which drives us.