Unions celebrate labour anniversary in Terrace, B.C.

Members from various unions around the region did more than talk about policy and issues when they met here last week

  • May. 25, 2015 5:00 a.m.

BC Federation of Labour president Irene Lanzinger was one of those attending a regional labour conference in Terrace last week.

By Cecile Favron

Members from various unions around the region did more than talk about policy and issues when they met here last week for a regional conference held by the BC Federation of Labour.

They also celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Kitimat-Terrace and District Labour Council, the regional body representing a number of unions with local members. The labour council’s roots date back to the first years of Rio Tinto Alcan’s Kitimat aluminum smelter.

Construction and then operation of the smelter grouped together a large contingent of workers and with it a call for union representation for wages, working conditions and other issues.

Last week’s conference, held May 22-23, featured issues occupying organized labour – employment in the resource sector, jobs in the “green economy” and improving wages for minimum wage workers.

“The purpose of having this conference [in Terrace] is to be the BC Federation of Labour, not the Vancouver Federation of Labour,” Irene Lanzinger, President of the BC Federation of Labour said of the choice to hold regional conferences in all reaches of the province.

The conference involved many local unions including the BC Teachers’ Federation, the United Steelworkers, and the Hospital Employees’ Union.

Participating unions spoke at the panel events and engaged in various workshops over the two-day conference.

The conference featured five panels on mobilizing members, the history of the labour movement, the resource sector, missing and murdered Indigenous women, and local poverty issues. Various workshops on health and safety, the minimum wage debate, and the federal election were also held in the afternoons.

Lanzinger highlighted the jobs versus environment debate as a critical issue with unions of the northwest.

“We think we can have both,” Lanzinger said on the issue, citing that green jobs are very good for the average worker. She believes that investing in sustainable energy, transportation, and construction will create more sustainable jobs.

The BC Federation of Labour is also working on a project called The Fight for $15 Campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour for all workers.

For this goal, Lanzinger encourages more unionizing in northern B.C. which only has a union density (the proportion of workers who are unionized) of 30 per cent. “Unions are good for communities, they make the communities a more equal place,” Lanzinger said.

“Our most vulnerable workers are low wage workers, so we need to be helping them.”

Unions represented at the conference come from as far as Prince George and Vancouver, but are mostly from the Terrace, Kitimat, and Prince Rupert area.

“The goal of this conference is the make the labour movement stronger in the region,” explained Lanzinger.

Also speaking were area politicians, including Skeena – Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen, Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin and BC NDP leader John Horgan.

 

Just Posted

College buys a yurt to boost student success

Round tent-like structure part of college instructional shift

Soup kitchen sees “groundswell of community support”

Donations toward looming tax bill push non-profit back in the black

Terrace husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

BC Ambulance presented each a Vital Link Award for separate incidents of CPR

Council supports lobby for fair share of cannabis tax revenue

The City of Terrace is throwing its support behind a West Kelowna… Continue reading

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

RCMP nail alleged sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

Most Read