Protein for People Project
BC Labour Unions Reaching into the Community
June 20, 2013
Organized labour is proud of its historical role in improving the quality of life for union members, and society at large. Protein for People project embodies the trade union motto; what we wish for ourselves we desire for all.
There have been enormous contributions over many years by union members and their organizations to food banks. While food bank lines are a poor reflection on our country, and humiliating for those forced to stand in them, we know that we can’t stand by and watch people starve while we fight for better public policy. Food bank clients are our sisters and brothers. Food bank clients and their families are our neighbors.
Protein for People is a union owned and operated society working in cooperation with food banks throughout BC. Its Affiliate Council (the Society’s membership) meets semi annually to advise, set general guidelines and elect the Executive. Its Executive supervises activities between Affiliate Council meetings. Protein for People is a registered charitable society under federal tax law and the Society’s Act of British Columbia.
The governing structure is comprised of:
Affiliate Council members/representative:
BC Building Trades – Tom Sigurdson
BCF&MWU – Chris Abbott
BCGEU – Stephanie Smith
BC Forum – Diane Wood
Burnaby Teachers Assn – Joan Ezra
CAW Bus Drivers – Don McLeod
CAW Region – Susan Spratt
CAW Seniors – Gordon Sheppard
CLC – Ron Stipp
CLC/United Way – Mervyn Van Steinburg
COPE 378 – Heather Lee
CUPE BC – Susan Zander
ILWU 500 – Tina Brooks
HEU – Carolyn Unsworth
HSA – Yuki Kurahashi
IBEW 258 – Tom Greenwell
M&BMU – Mack Brown
NW&DBT – Greg Mooney
PCMC – Mark Gordienko
Surrey Teachers Assn – Gioia Breda
UFAWU-CAW – John Radosevic
UFCW – Fran Christie
USW – Steve Hunt/Scott Lunny
United Way Labour Dept – Merv Van Steinburg
Labour Council – Fraser Valley
Labour Council – Nanaimo
Labour Council – New Westminster (Carolyn Rice)
Labour Council – North Okanagan
Labour Council – Prince Rupert
Labour Council – Salmon Arm
Labour Council – Sunshine Coast
Labour Council – Vancouver (Joey Hartman)
John Radosevic (UFAWU-CAW) – President
Stephanie Smith (BCGEU) – Treasurer
Carolyn Rice (NWDLC) – Recording Secretary
Steve Hunt (USW) – Director
Ron Stipp (CLC) – Director
Susan Zander (CUPE BC) – Director
Mervyn Van Steinburg (CLC/United Way) – Director
Our continuing mission is to expand the volume of canned salmon donated to food banks and to reach more people through Community Forums.
To project labour/CLC food security and poverty policies through information on custom labels on food we donate, information on our website and Community Forum labour events.
Actions & Activities:
Accounting and bookkeeping: Culver and Company is Protein for People’s accountant for a reduced rate, with bookkeeping services being donated by IBEW, Local 258.
Additional Products: Our 2012 annual report described the Executive’s consideration of protein products in addition to canned salmon. As reported then, we may be nearing limits to volumes of salmon food bank clients want. We continue to believe it’s prudent to have alternatives in the event salmon products in large enough volumes may not be available every year. Accordingly, the Executive continues to examine other appropriate shelf stable proteins like tuna, chicken, lentils or ham. Food bank surveys and input by food bank nutritionists will be part of this ongoing process.
Affiliate Council: The 2012 Annual Affiliate Council meeting was facilitated by Doug Eveneshen, President and CEO of Community Savings Credit Union. Doug was able to provide valuable insight regarding fund raising and marketing. Our Affiliate Council now boasts a membership of thirty trade union organizations.
Business Planning: Protein for People is currently in the fourth year of its first five year business plan. It’s worthy of note that with few exceptions, the first plan so accurately identified areas to develop and the means by which to achieve the successes we’ve experienced. We are entering into development of our second five year plan with confidence that it will be as practical and insightful as the first.
It’s also worthy of note that development of our first five year Business Plan was financed by Community Savings Credit Union, which is again playing a prominent role in supporting development of our second five year plan. Doug Eveneshen, President and CEO of Community Savings Credit Union is facilitator of the effort an indispensable part of the process.
Development of the second five year plan will occupy a significant portion of the Executive’s attention in the coming months. Its current focus is on subjects like: money and fund raising, other resources (staffing, technical etc), succession planning (administration and executive), community forum effectiveness, policy projection, communications strategy and program expansion (to other provinces).
A new draft five year plan will be presented to the next general Affiliate Council meeting in late 2013/early 2014, and those results will be brought to the 2014 Annual General Meeting for final adoption.
CLC Winter School: The school is an important venue for putting Protein for People’s program into the hands of union leaders and activists. The CLC’s invitation to attend the 2013 Winter School again provided an opportunity to present our program to labour council activists. We’re grateful to the Canadian Labour Congress for continuing opportunities at this level.
Community Outreach: Labour sponsored Community Forums are popular food bank client events, attracting between 300 and 700 people each. In the past 12 months we showcased traded unions in BC communities like: Abbotsford, Sunshine Coast, Revelstoke, Duncan, Nanaimo, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Kelowna, Nanaimo, Prince Rupert, Salmon Arm, Surrey, Sunshine Coast and Vancouver.
By the time of this AGM, tens of thousands of food bank clients will have seen our information on labels of donated canned salmon and over 4,000 food bank clients will have attended labour Community Forum events.
Financial Contributions: Contributions from unions continue to be the project’s mainstay. Expansion of direct purchasing by food banks is also impressive, but donations from union compatible corporations are lagging. Top leaders of some larger unions will add their weight to this effort this year but this aspect of our work has yet to show results. Expanded funding is critical to success in putting our canned salmon labels into every food bank annually and maintaining other important elements of our program.
Food Banks: Purchasing protein through Protein for People is a cost effect way for Food banks wanting to purchase additional products. Purchasing through Protein for People is also a positive way for food banks to participate in the project. This trend is expected to grow into an important part of our project on many levels.
Looking ahead we expect union members to become more involved with food banks across the province. This will increase labour’s contribution to communities, helping them to understand and be more aware of labour’s positive role. John Radosevic represents Protein for People on Food Banks BC’s Provincial Executive.
Office Location: Our office, donated by the New Westminster and District Labour Council, helps to identify Protein for People with its union base: Protein for People, #105 – 3920 Norland Avenue, Burnaby BC, V5G 4KT. Phone: 604-299-8101, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Product Labels: Union labels on products destined for food banks are important for branding labour’s role in the community and for providing food bank clients with information. Union profile is enhanced as the volume of labour branded canned salmon grows. This year we increased purchases to $139,000 in canned protein products, including purchases by food banks. We continue to work at improving our branding effectiveness through labels, leaflets and other communications strategies.
Website: Improvements are on-going and our website (www.proteinproject.ca) is becoming a valuable tool for enhancing labour’s image and projecting its policies.
We are proud of our success in increasing food purchases and the number of community forums, and through these, highlighting of labour’s positive role.
On behalf of our Affiliate Council, we want to acknowledge the commitment and contribution of everyone involved in the project; from the many individuals who designated their United Way workplace donations to Protein for People, to trade unions, credit unions, corporations, food banks, labour councils and others whose support underpins all of our success.