BC Federation of Labour Convention

The BC Federation of Labour (BCFed) is an association of the various labour unions within BC. It is as diverse as you would expect, encompassing every kind of unionized worker from resource industries to health care to film production and everything in between, all united under the umbrella of union principles. The BCFed acts provincially the same way the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) acts federally and the Victoria Labour Council (VLC) acts in the Greater Victoria area. Every two years, they hold a convention; 2014 marked their 56th Convention.

While the BCFed works to educate and coordinate activists, to campaign against government cuts and unfair legislation, and to help when labour unrest flares anywhere in the province, they also operate on a more basic level to represent all working people, and to fight for basic rights and freedoms like a living wage, health and safety improvements, and of course helping those workers who want to organize their workplaces. In speech after speech and report after report, these themes are reinforced. In short, the BCFed’s role is to provide resources for the working people of British Columbia.

Four of our delegates: Cheryl DeWolfe, Karen Dykes, Sarah Harmer, Ted Godwin. Photo by Doug Sprenger.

Four of our delegates: Cheryl DeWolfe, Karen Dykes, Sarah Harmer, Ted Godwin. Photo by Doug Sprenger.

After 15 years as its president, Jim Sinclair announced he would be stepping down, to make way for a new leader which made this election year a little more interesting. Because of that there was a very large delegation — about 2000 people — and some very active campaign teams! Our delegate team was  Cheryl DeWolfe, Karen Dykes, Ted Godwin, Sarah Harmer, Doug Sprenger and Jane Stewart. Five of the six delegates had never been to a BC Fed convention before so there was a bit of a learning curve.

In between campaigning and celebrating Jim Sinclair’s years of leadership, we heard from a number of speakers and of course heard reports of the Executive and committees, and debated the resolutions that either arose from those reports or were put forward by member unions.

Outside the elections (which were intense but interesting), there were some very heartfelt speeches on a variety of topics. Cheryl, Ted, and Doug each stood to speak at the mics on the topics of libraries and research, housing, and international solidarity, respectively.