Interviewed by Ken Novakowski
Andy Ross was born in Newcastle, England. Growing up he was surrounded by unionized workplaces, from coal mines to industrial enterprises. Emigrating to Canada, he became a bus driver in Vancouver and was a member of the bus drivers’ unions, ATU [Amalgamated Transit Union], then ICTU [Independent Canadian Transit Union], becoming involved in the un-strike. Andy was a transit instructor where he became a member of the OTEU [Office and Technical Employees Union] Local 378, eventually becoming president of the local. Andy’s interview traces the interesting history of the OTEU local, which eventually became MoveUP [Movement of United Professionals]. Andy remembers Operation Solidarity and Citizens for Public Power, a coalition with environmental groups such as the Wilderness Committee, confronting the Liberal government’s planned privatization of B.C. Hydro. He was involved in bargaining, strikes and actions with his union, including organizing the BCAA [BC Automobile Association] and dealing with the gas companies. Andy also outlines his involvement with the New Westminster & District Labour Council, the B.C. Federation of Labour and successfully encouraging young people to become involved in his union. He explains his involvement in international union solidarity through the global union federations. Since retiring, Andy has been involved in instructing and with the boards of TransLink and B.C. Ferries.
Keywords: Newcastle, Transport & General Workers Union, bus driver, B.C. Transit, B.C. Hydro, Operation Solidarity, Empire Stadium, unstrike, ICTU, Independent Canadian Transit Union, OTEU Local 378, Office and Technical Employees Union, Art Hobbis, OPEIU, Office and Professional Employees International Union, COPE 378, Canadian Office and Professional Employees, TransLink, CAW, Canadian Auto Workers, CUPE, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Mountain Bus Company, Joy MacPhail, Leo McGrady, Vince Ready, Len Ruel, George Puil, Dave McPherson, IT, BCAA, BC Automobile Association, Minter Gardens, Terasen Gas, B.C. Gas, Kinder Morgan, Fortis, Citizens for Public Power, environmental groups, Bill Vander Zalm, Rafe Mair, IBEW Local 258, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Enron, Accentia, Gwenne Farrell, IPPs, Independent Power Producers, Wilderness Committee, Joe Foy, New Westminster & District Labour Council, B.C. Federation of Labour, Dave Tones, Dave Haggard, IWA, International Woodworkers of America, Ron Tuckwood, David Black, Fraser Valley Labour Council, Jim Sinclair, Carole Taylor, Patrice Pratt, Kenny Newman, Brooke Sundin, Pauline Gomez, Burnaby, constitutions, political action