John Shields

Interviewee: John Shields

Date: November 23, 2016

Location: Burnaby, BC

Full Interview: Click to watch

Summary: Download PDF

Key Subjects: American Federation of Labour [AFL]; American Nazi Party; Bargaining; BC Federation of Labour; BC Government Employees Union [BCGEU]; Bill Bennett [former BC Premier]; Bill Vander-Zalm [former BC Premier]; Brooklyn, New York; Capital Regional District [CRD]; Catholic Children’s Aid; Catholic church; Children’s Aid Society; Civil Rights Act [U.S., 1964]; Civil rights movement; Collective bargaining; Collective rights; Congress of Industrial Organizations [CIO]; Corbin Commission; Daycare Workers of Vancouver; Father Daniel Berrigan; Indigenous communities; Kelowna Accord; Labour movement; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Negotiations; New Democratic Party [NDP]; New York City [NYC]; Nisga’a First Nation; Operation Solidarity; Pay equity; Privatization; Public sector (industry); Religion; Social Credit Party [SoCreds]; Social justice movement; Social Service Employees Union [SSEU]; Social work (industry); Solidarity Coalition; Solidarity Movement [BC, 1983]; Southern Christian Leadership Group; Spirituality; Strikes; Vancouver; Victoria;

John Shields was born and raised in New York City, New York, raised by Irish Catholic parents. He was always drawn to helping people and pursued a career in the Catholic church clergy, but left after disagreement with the church’s new revelations. He moved to Vancouver and became a social worker, and eventually served as President of the BCGEU from 1985- 1999, playing a major role in the fights for collective bargaining and pay equity, among others.

John passed away on March 24, 2017, at the age of 78. Watch a clip from his interview below, shared in commemoration and celebration of his life of activism.