Leila Harding

Interviewed by Sean Griffin

Leila Harding was born into a naval officer’s family in Nova Scotia but moved to Victoria as a child. As a young adult, she moved to Vancouver and worked for Fred Deeley Motors, where she had her first involvement with a union. She also volunteered on Tom Berger’s MLA campaign. Not long after that she moved again – this time to London, England, where she worked for BC House (a trade organization) and was mentored in feminist ideals and community development by an activist friend.
Leila married and had a child in London, and the family moved back to Canada in 1976. In 1981 a chance meeting with Janet Hall led to what eventually became Leila’s career with the Independent Canadian Transit Union (ICTU), then Food and Service Workers of Canada (FASWOC), and Canadian Association of Industrial Mechanical and Allied Workers (CAIMAW), and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW).
In this interview Leila speaks in depth about the independent Canadian labour movement, about organizing and representing workers in food service (Starbucks, KFC, White Spot), and about the emotional labour of working on WCB appeals.

Victoria B.C.; Social Credit Party (Socred); Vancouver B.C.; Fred Deeley Motors; Machinists’ Union, Tom Berger; London, U.K.; BC House; feminist movement; General Binding Corporation; Janet Hall; Canadian Association of Industrial Mechanical and Allied Workers (CAIMAW); Independent Canadian Transit Union (ICTU); independent Canadian labour movement; independent staff unions; Food and Service Workers of Canada (FASWOC); Confederation of Canadian Unions (CCU); KFC; White Spot; Starbucks; Jess Succamore; Jef Keighley; union democracy; union merger; Rick Ward; young workers; transient workers; Denise Kellahan; Workers Compensation Board (WCB); John Bowman; decertification; social justice; landmines

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