On February 15, 1974, hundreds of teachers from Surrey walked out of their classrooms to take their case for decreased class size to Victoria.
In the course of one day, the Surrey teachers were able to achieve their goal in a deal that benefited not only their District, but the entire provincial public school system.
In partnership with WorkSafeBC we have released a new video which presents the history of the Canadian Farmworkers Union (CFWU) and their fight for health and safety rights in BC. The video includes interviews with CFWU founders Raj Chouhan and Charan Gill. It documents the partnerships formed with groups such as the United Farmworkers and its iconic leader Caesar Chavez.
December picture of the month:
IWA founder Howard Webb and creation of BCGEU
It was organized labour’s day in Prince George on December 13, 2016 as two important aspects of labour history were commemorated in the City.
A bronze plaque dedicated to the life of Charles Howard Webb was unveiled by Steelworkers Local 1-424 and the North Central Labour Council. Shown above is Don Iwaskow, USW 1-424 Financial Secretary and Aaron Ekman representing the BC Labour Heritage Centre.
Howard Webb was a founder of the International Woodworkers of America in the central interior. Webb died in 1977 after a lifetime of work to strengthen the labour movement, his own union and defend workers.
A second plaque was dedicated by the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) in Prince George to commemorate the creation of the Union in 1969 during a convention in that City. The event was a pivotal moment for the Union as it went on to win collective bargaining rights for its members in 1974.
Stephanie Smith, President of the BCGEU told the dozens of people present for the dedication that “the convention decisions taken in Prince George in 1969 not only changed our name, they paved the way for our future success”. Today, the BCGEU represents over 70,000 members from 550 different employers across British Columbia.
Both plaques were part of the BC Labour Heritage Centre’s Plaques Around the Province Project which aims to recognize significant events, people and groups who have contributed to the province’s working history.
As part of the Howard Webb project, a research paper was commissioned from University of Northern BC History professor Rob-Roy Douglas, which adds to scholarly research on labour history in BC.
The bronze plaques are cast in a unionized foundry in Richmond, which has operated since 1928.
Featuring the BC Federation of Labour
Women and the labour movement