October 18, 2017
Interviewed by Sean Griffin and Bailey Garden
Grace Stevens was born in Saskatchewan to Finnish and Norwegian parents, moving to Webster’s Corners in B.C. as a girl where her parents farmed and fished the Fraser River. Growing up in the Depression years, she learned to fight for better pay and better working conditions through solidarity with other workers, principles that she held and stood for throughout her life. She enlisted in WWII and met her future husband, Homer Stevens, soon after she came home. Homer was a fisherman, but also a union leader and Communist organizer. Grace shared his views and supported his work, while also raising four children, working for various unions and doing her own union work, even during the period when he was jailed for a year for his organizing work. She believed in equality for women and supported those struggles through her union work and life, including fighting for the right to have a credit card in her own name. She is proud that all of her children have continued in the tradition of leading and supporting the work of their own unions.
Keywords: labour history; women’s labour history; Homer Stevens; UFAWU; fishery, Finnish community, Fraser River; Fishermen’s Union; jailings; Webster’s Corners