Interviewed by Blair Redlin and Ken Novakowski
Carmela Allevato was born in a small town in Southern Italy in 1962. Her family emigrated to Canada when she was 11 years old and settled in Toronto where her parents worked in manufacturing and factory jobs. After graduating high school, she went to the University of Toronto, and then studied law at the University of British Columbia. She became active in B.C. politics when Rosemary Brown ran for the leadership of the NDP in 1972. Carmela was called to the bar in 1979. By this time, she was very active in COPE and municipal politics. She was also very involved in the peace movement and was one of the leaders that built the coalition known for organizing large End the Arms Race marches in Vancouver. Her activism in municipal politics includes being a Vancouver School Board Trustee in the mid-eighties. Her more than 30 years working in the labour movement includes being the secretary-business manager and lead negotiator for the Hospital Employees Union in the 1990s, in-house counsel to the Canadian Union of Public Employees for 12 years, and the BC Teachers’ Federation for six years. In 2014, she left the BCTF to form a labour law firm with Jim Quayle.
Keywords: Bill 29 (Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act, 2002); bumping rights; Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom and the right to strike; coalitions; HEABC; Health Accord; labour lawyers; labour law; pay equity; peace movement; Vancouver & District Labour Council; Women labour leaders; school budgets; strikes; BC Federation of Labour; BCNU; (British Columbia Nurses Union); BCGEU (British Columbia General Employees’ Union); CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees); HLRA (Health Labour Relations Association); HEU (Hospital Employees’ Union); HSA (Health Sciences Association); MoveUP (Movement of United Professionals); Unite Here; British Columbia Peace Council; Communist Party of Canada; COPE (Committee of Progressive Electors); End the Arms Race; Non Partisan Association (NPA); Vision Vancouver; Walk for Peace; Chris Allnutt; Rosemary Brown; Peter Cameron; Larry Campbell; Judy Darcy; Ken Denike; Chris Gainor; Jack Gerow; Mike Harcourt; Jack Heinrich; Frank Kennedy; Jim Kinnaird; David Lane; Bill McDonald; Geoff Meggs; Gary Merchant; Ken Novakowski; Phillip Owen; Barry O’Neill; Jim Quayle; Joseph Roberts; Rosaline Ross; Jean Swanson