B.C. Fed convention opens with call to build on by-election wins

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The B.C. Federation of Labour’s 52nd convention began Monday in Vancouver with 1,000 union members converging on the Trade and Convention Centre from all parts of the province.

Federation president Jim Sinclair opened the proceedings by recognizing the struggles – and often personal sacrifices – of working men and women who fought to form unions and establish fair wages and working conditions in the early days of B.C.’s labour movement.

Fast-forwarding to present day, Sinclair told delegates this convention will set a course to make the labour movement more relevant and more vital, now and into the future.

Citing recent successes in the provincial by-elections and civic elections, Sinclair urged union members to get active on-the-ground in political campaigns. To roaring applause, he told delegates, “What it takes to win an election – is us!”

HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy says that this is a particularly important convention as the provincial election is just around the corner. “We have our sights set on May 12 and on making sure that British Columbians understand this government’s record on health care,” she says.

“And there are other pressing issues that our members want addressed during this convention,” says Darcy. “Poverty, homelessness, the environment – along with fair wages and working conditions for all workers – are top of mind for our 125-strong delegation.”

Resolutions of particular interest to HEU delegates include: funding for health and community social services, de-unionization in the community living sector, successor rights, Bill 42 (the B.C. government’s advertising gag law), and from HEU’s VGH local – the privatization of health services, P3s and the growth of private medical clinics.