Randy Pearson

Interviewed by Phil Legg

Randy Pearson was born in northern B.C. to a working-class family. He worked in the lumber mills around Prince George as a young man, before traveling, marrying and getting a unionized job with pension benefits at a B.C. Liquor Store. He liked being a member of BCGEU and quickly became a union activist. Over the years he held various positions within the union and worked on various campaigns, such as the fight to retain their modified work-week provisions.

Randy speaks at length and in detail about a major campaign against the Social Credit government’s attempts to privatize liquor stores. This campaign was carried out over several years, throughout the province, and involved a broad coalition. He talks about the importance of community-based organizing, and the relevance of broader political trends on local concerns.

He also discusses the difficulties he encountered and lessons he learned during his time as a staff representative working with the Point Hope Shipyard workers. There were jurisdictional issues, union raiding and legal challenges.

Throughout the interview Randy and Phil speak of the successes and satisfactions of working in coalitions to achieve better outcomes for workers.

Key words:

B.C. lumber mills; Carrier Lumber; worker safety; provincial liquor stores; Retail Stores and Warehouse component; privatization; Social Credit government policies; Vander Zalm; modified workweek; South Africa wine boycott; coalition building; Peter Toigo; Point Hope Shipyard Workers; BC General Employees Union (BCGEU)

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Anti-privatization flyer mentioned in the interview.