HEU marks passing of former president Bill Black

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HEU members are remembering former union president Bill Black who passed away peacefully on September 8, 2006 at the age of 90.

A trades worker at Royal Columbian Hospital, Black served as a provincial trustee on HEU’s Provincial Executive from 1956 to 1968, and then as president from 1968 to 1980.

Speaking to the union’s 50th anniversary convention in 1994, he told delegates, “The strength of any union is at the local level. When HEU was formed in 1944 it was designed so that the policy of the union would be established and controlled by those who toil in hospitals. Workers are the real representatives of their union and should guard this right jealously.”

HEU president Fred Muzin says Black was a progressive leader, dedicated to improving the lives and working conditions of health care workers across the province.

“Brother Black was also known for his strong belief in the important role unions play in the broader struggle for social justice,” says Muzin. “He understood that we are only truly strong when we join with others in standing up for our communities as well as workers’ rights.

“His dedication to people and our members,” adds Muzin, “helped establish the proud legacy of our union and he will be sorely missed.”

Black was predeceased by his wife Flo in July 2006, his son Bill Jr. in 2005 and his daughter-in-law Phyllis in 2004. He is survived by two daughters, Linda and Shirley, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

The family will be holding a memorial tea in Black’s honour at a later date.