Art Kube

Interviewed by David Yorke, Ken Novakowski and Bailey Garden

Art Kube was born in Poland where he attended a socialist kindergarten. He joined the Metalworkers Union in 1949 and became a member of the socialist faction of the Metalworkers Union. His mother was a socialist and trade unionist who had to raise her two children alone because Art’s father was a prisoner of war in the Soviet Union. He left in 1954 to “see the world” and wound-up landing in Quebec, Canada where he became a member of the United Steelworkers union (USW). Art soon became involved in organizing workers across a wide variety of industries. He eventually became President of the BC Federation of Labour.

Keywords: Alberta; Alberta labour movement; Alcan smelter; American Federation of Labour – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO); BC Federation of Labour (BC Fed); Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW); Canadian Congress of Labour (CCL); Canadian Labour Congress (CLC); Communist Party (CP); Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE); Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF); Co-operative Union of Canada (CUC); Collective agreements; Inco smelter; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU); International Labour Organization (ILO); International trade union movement; International Woodworkers of America (IWA); Labour College; Labour education; Labour school; Mine-Mill (nickname); Mine, Mill & Smelter Workers Union; Negotiating; New Democratic Party (NDP); Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU); Ontario; Ontario labour movement; Organizing; Poland; Simon Fraser University (SFU); Socialism; Strikes; Trades and Labour Congress (TLC); Trade unionism; United Steelworkers (USW); Vancouver, BC; White-collar organization; Winter School

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Interviewed by Jim Sinclair and Darryl Walker

This interview covers the intense period in 1983 when Operation Solidarity and the Solidarity Coalition brought the province to the brink of a general strike. As President of the BC Federation of Labour, Art Kube was central to the formation of Operation Solidarity, its organizational structure, finances and strategies. In the interview, Kube explores the differences between labour and community groups. He offers a unique perspective to the events that took place and some behind-the-scenes details of discussions and negotiations.

Keywords: Operation Solidarity, Solidarity Coalition, 1983, BC Federation of Labour, Jack Munro, Empire Stadium, injunctions, BCGEU, Norman Spector, Larry Kuehn, Kelowna Accord, general strike, Jim Roberts, Renate Shearer, Solidarity Times (newspaper)

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