Interviewed by Sean Griffin
Denise Kellahan became active in the Union FASWOC (Food and Service Workers of Canada) while she was working at the White Spot restaurant as a single mother with two small children. She helped shepherd the merger of FASWOC (a primarily service sector union) into the mainly industrial union CAIMAW (Canadian Association of Mechanical and Allied Workers). With the membership spread out all through the Province of BC, Denise and other members of the Local had to travel to 22 locations up and down Vancouver Island, Prince George, Kitimat, Prince Rupert, all through the Okanagan and Lower Mainland. She helped negotiate the first agreement between White Spot and CAIMAW which included language allowing members to maximize their hours of work up to and including working a 40-hour work week as well as the right to have shift selection by seniority. With the merger between CAIMAW and the CAW (Canadian Auto Workers) Denise became a Staff Representative with the CAW and with along with dedicated organizers saw her local, Local 3000, grow into a large service Local within the Union. Denise worked tirelessly on behalf of the members of her Local and retired in 2009.
Keywords: FASWOC; Food and Service Workers of Canada; CAIMAW; Canadian Association of Mechanical and Allied Workers; White Spot; CAW; Canadian Auto Workers; restaurant workers; service workers; mergers; seniority; shifts