Labour 7 results

How the ghost of Ginger Goodwin painted the town “Red”

Canadian History: The Ginger Goodwin General Strike of 1918 When pacifist union organizer and worker’s rights activist Ginger Goodwin was killed by a single police bullet 100 years ago, it marked the beginning of Canada’s first general strike, and a blood-drenched birth to B.C.’s modern labour movement. By Rod Mickleburgh At 12 o’clock sharp on Aug. 2, 1918 – one hundred years ago today – Vancouver transit operators stopped their streetcars in mid-route, drove them to the barns and walked home. The city’s normally bustling waterfront fell silent, as 2,000 burly stevedores and shipyard workers streamed from the docks. Construction workers refused to pound another nail or lift another brick. They joined textile and other union workers across Vancouver who were also leaving their jobs. It was the start of Canada’s first general strike and the beginning of one of the most memorable 24 hours in the city’s history. (Okay, I could have photo-shopped this a bit ...

Bidding Adieu to Dave Barrett

Tribute: Dave Barrett Funerals for public figures can often be stuffy affairs with formal speechmaking and half-hearted appeals to emotion, but the recent ceremonies for B.C.’s former premier were rife with real affection. By Rod Mickleburgh So, farewell then, Dave Barrett. A month after the remarkable NDP leader passed away, it was time for the public to bid adieu, formally and informally. The official state memorial in Victoria came first, followed the next day by what was more a gathering of the clans at Vancouver’s Croatian Cultural Centre, not that far from where Dave Barrett grew up on the city’s rough-and-tumble east side. Both events were packed, befitting the immeasurable contribution he made to the province of British Columbia during his short 39 months as its first socialist premier. (Unlike today’s New Democrats, he never shied from using the term “socialist.”) Beyond his political legacy, there was an outpouring of real affection for someone who had ...

Cohen, Prince, Bowie and now… Comparelli

Tribute: R.I.P. Peter Comparelli A fellow scribe remembers the good old days when journalists spoke truth to power, a per diem could get you drunk and a guy named Peter Comparelli backstopped the labour beat By Rod Mickleburgh It has been a terrible year. Bowie and Prince taken far too early. Leonard Cohen leaving us to mourn and light candles against the dark. Long-time friends battling serious health issues. Fake news, the decline of newspapers and the mainstream media, more necessary than ever to hold governments and politicians to account. An antiquated electoral system, an FBI “announcement coup” against Hillary Clinton and Russian hackers delivering a sniveling, bullying, thin-skinned, shallow-thinking prima-donna with the attention span of a child to the White House, while the most adult of U.S. presidents takes his dignified leave. Terrorism in Europe. Aleppo. And now, to cap off this annus horribilis came news of the passing of Peter Comparelli, as lovely a person ...

Journalist takes Labour Day weekend literally

The Daddy Diary: Labour with help from Jack Bauer An expecting first-time father channels the spirit of a super agent as he faces the unknown, an earful of Portuguese expletives and the beautiful face of a brand new baby girl By Chris Lackner 1:30 a.m. A gentle voice. "Wake up, babe. My water just broke. She's coming." Two minutes of unintelligible, groggy mumbling, and then: "Are you sure it isn't one of those fake things? You know, Higgs boson... or whatever its called?" Sigh. "Higgs boson is a particle (my wife is a scientist). Braxton Hicks are fake contractions... (again gently) there's no such thing as fake water breaking." "Oh." The panic sets in, and I immediately forget everything I learned in our prenatal class. I silently (for fear of being slapped) ask myself one thing: "How would Jack Bauer handle this?" 1:45 We're desperately gathering everything on our hospital checklist at the front door. From clothes to food, and Gatorade to diapers. The baby is two ...

What’s in a baby name? Hopes, dreams, history… guilt

The Daddy Diary: Part Four - The Name Game An expecting father navigates the dangerous waters of choosing a baby name that works in English and Portuguese -- and isn't associated with pole dancing  

When reporters and politicians rub elbows

Tribute: Bill Bennett A labour reporter looks back on an oddball friendship with a right-wing leader, and the good old days when labour reporters still existed By Rod Mickleburgh VANCOUVER -- For some reason, Bill Bennett seemed to like me. In the few times we encountered each other, we got along. Goodness knows why, since, as a labour reporter, I had little time for the wealth of anti-labour legislation that came down the legislative pipe during Bennett’s 11 years as premier of British Columbia, topped by his outlandish, 26-bill “restraint” package in 1983. It went far beyond “austerity”. One of the bills gave his government the right to fire public sector workers without cause and lay them off without regard to seniority. Among the first to be shown the door was BC Government Employees Union vice-president Diane Woods. Nor was that all. On that single unforgettable day, the government also wiped out the Human Rights Commission (employees fired on the spot), gave ...

Judge’s dissenting remarks draw chalk outline around corpse of collective bargaining

Justice Ian Donald emerges as a lone voice in the labour wilderness with recent 38-page dissent concluding the BC government did not bargain in good faith with teachers By Rod Mickleburgh “[If] the government could declare all further compromise in any context to be untenable, pass whatever it wants, and spend all ‘consultation periods’ repeatedly saying ‘sorry, this is as far as we can go,’ [that] would make a mockery of the concept of collective bargaining.” - Justice Ian Donald, dissenting from the B.C. Court of Appeal decision overturning a lower court ruling that found the government’s imposed 2012 contract on B.C. teachers unconstitutional. I’ve known Appeal Court Justice Ian Donald for a long time, not recently or as a friend, but during his time as a lawyer representing non-mainstream unions who made a lot of news in those long lost days when I was a labour reporter. His clients included independent Canadian unions such as the Pulp, Paper and ...