Audio Recordings

These recordings include interviews, convention proceedings and educational sessions. They were recorded in the 1950s and 1960s by the B.C. Federation of Labour. Many were used for research for Paul Phillips’ 1967 book, No Power Greater: A Century of Labour in B.C. With the assistance of the UBC Library and Archives we have begun the process of digitizing many of these recordings.

Sam Turbitt – Oil Refinery Workers, Local 4

A short-lived union at the IOCO oil refinery near Port Moody from 1918-1921, the Oil Refinery Workers affiliated with the O.B.U. (One Big Union). The Union held a two-week strike in 1918 which resulted in huge wage increases. Sam Turbitt was a foreman at the plant. Shortly thereafter Imperial Oil broke the union by creating an “Employee Benefits Plan” that included a company union, free life insurance, sick benefits and a non-contributory pension plan. In 1946, IOCO workers joined the Oil Workers’ International Union. Download transcript (PDF)

Elroy Robson – Canadian Brotherhood of Railway, Transport and General Workers (CBRT&GW)

This is a 1964 interview with Elroy Robson, a labour organizer for the Canadian Brotherhood of Railway, Transport and General Workers who also held senior offices in the union and other central labour bodies.. He discusses his 47-year-long career from 1917 onward. He talks about organizing struggles, conflicts with the American Federation of Labor, the development of industrial unions, the Great Depression, and various political organizations affiliated with the labor movement in the early 20th century. Robson was present at the Vancouver Labour Temple in 1918 when soldiers stormed the building, forcing him and other union officials onto the exterior ledge of the building to protect their lives. His first-hand account of that day is the only known recording. Download transcript (PDF)

Hachiro and Joe Miyazawa – Japanese Camp and Mill Workers Union

This recording contains a 1964 interview with Hachiro Miyazawa and his son Joe Miyazawa about the Camp and Mill Workers Union that Hachiro helped organize in the 1920s to represent Japanese lumber mill workers in British Columbia. They discuss the formation of the union, its affiliation with the Vancouver Trades and Labour Council, working conditions for Japanese immigrants, political attitudes in the community, and the decline of the union over time. Joe Miyazawa was also a union activist and organizer with the International Woodworkers of America (I.W.A.) Download transcript (PDF)