Canada's newest union had a presence at the annual Kamloops and District Labour Council Labour Day picnic, bringing with it a message of solidarity and hope.
Wearing a red Unifor union T-shirt, representative Kevin Pryor said he wanted to introduce himself to the Kamloops crowd and share the new union's message of strength in numbers.
"Both unions together have more strength," Pryor told The Daily News.
The Canadian Auto Workers union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada have merged to form a new group called Unifor, which is now Canada's largest private sector union.
The union will initially represent more than 300,000 workers, including staff at The Daily News, across roughly 20 sectors of the economy, primarily in manufacturing, communications and transportation.
It will also represent some public sector employees in the health, education and transit sectors.
Pryor recently attended an education session for the union and said his eyes were opened to how much the two unions were spread out across Canada.
He pointed out how unions across Canada have been chipped away by employers and the government, saying the recent loss of 80 CEP jobs at Domtar is a prime example.
"We need the strength in numbers right now in Canada. We're getting picked apart piece by piece," said Pryor.
He said unions don't need to merge together to be strong, but they must stand united.
CUPE Local 3500 president John Hall said he's sad to see the CEP and CAW flags fly at the picnic for the last time, but he welcomed Unifor to the event at Riverside Park.
A couple hundred people visited the picnic by 11:30 a.m. Monday, making it one of the most successful in recent memory, Hall said.
Adults enjoyed live music performed at the bandshell and mingled with others. Children played in bouncy castles.
Hall said the picnic isn't just for unions.
"It's for everyone."
The CEP and CAW voted last year to join forces, a move they hope will boost the national labour movement.
THE DAILY NEWS/THE CANADIAN PRESS