Workers Take Over Facility for a Better Future

In the summer of 1983, Operation Solidarity began mobilizing the widespread opposition across BC to the Social Credit government budget cutbacks and regressive legislation into a cohesive protest movement.

Faced with the announced closure of their Kamloops workplace, the workers at Tranquille Institution, a residential complex for people with developmental disabilities, decided to occupy and manage the facility themselves.

For twenty-two days in July and August 1983, BC Government Employees’ Union (BCGEU) members in Kamloops occupied the Tranquille Institution to protect their jobs and the future of its 350 residents.

The story is told in this compelling video created by the BCGEU.

Gary Steeves was a staffer at the BCGEU in 1983 and his book Tranquility Lost [2020], tells the fascinating story of the workers who championed the fightback in a dramatic fashion. The Tranquille occupation was an inspiration to the tens of thousands of British Columbians fighting back that summer.

Listen to our podcast episode on the Tranquille Occupation:

For more information on Operation Solidarity and the occupation of Tranquille, explore our exhibit in the Virtual Museum of Canada Community Stories Program with stories, artifacts, and memories.