Interviewed by Ken Novakowski
Cliff Andstein is a seasoned activist with over 30 years’ experience in the trade union movement. He moved to BC as a young man, leaving his home province of New Brunswick where he had encountered the dangers of working as a high rigger. While pursuing further education in Vancouver, he briefly worked as an instructor at BCIT where he was a member of the BCGEU. He was then hired by BCGEU General Secretary John Fryer, joining a group of bright young staff people who worked with the elected officials to transform the BCGEU structure. He spoke about the fight against the draconian Bills 2 & 3 as well as his thoughts on Operation Solidarity. Cliff was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour in 1985, remaining in the post until 1989. He then became the BCGEU Director of Bargaining and Chief Negotiator. In 1999 he moved to Ottawa to work as the Executive Assistant to Ken Georgetti, then the President of the Canadian Labour Congress, working there for fifteen years. He remains active as a labour relations consultant.
Keywords: BCGEU, Operation Solidarity, Bill 2, Bill 3, BC Federation of Labour, Ken Georgetti, Canadian Labour Congress, John Shields, wage and price controls, John Fryer, Art Kube, Compensation Stabilization Act, Kelowna Accord