Show cover of On the Line: Stories of BC Workers

On the Line: Stories of BC Workers

Canadian labour history storytelling podcast, produced by volunteers & staff of the BC Labour Heritage Centre on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) territories. Hosted by labour reporter & author Rod Mickleburgh.

Tracks

Episode 17: Asbestos - A Lethal Legacy
This episode looks at the grim toll taken by exposure to carcinogenic fibres of asbestos.  Because it often takes decades for diseases such as mesothelioma  - a cancer caused by asbestos exposure - to develop, its legacy is ongoing.  We’ve known about these dangers for decades, yet the widespread use of asbestos continued long after its lethal properties were beyond dispute. It routinely found its way into a startling range of construction materials and, ironically, safety products. In September 2022, the BC Labour Heritage Centre officially dedicated a remarkable memorial to the victims of asbestos.  The Asbestos Memorial is located on the Vancouver waterfront as part of the Vancouver Convention Centre's Art Program with a commanding view of Burrard Inlet, where workers once loaded asbestos onto cargo ships.Lee Loftus, a third-generation member of the Insulators Union Local 118 talks about his role in raising awareness and understanding the risks of asbestos exposure. Tracy Ford, co-founder of the Asbestos-Related Research, Education & Advocacy Fund (AREA), recalls how the disease caught up with her father.Dave Pritchett, a longshoreman who worked at the Cassiar Asbestos dock in North Vancouver, explains how he and fellow longshore workers were on the front lines of handling asbestos. Linda Brace, widow of a smelter worker in Trail BC, recounts Cominco's response to her husband's death from mesothelioma at the age of 53. FEATURED MUSIC:   Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond. "More Than a Paycheck" written by Ysaye Barnwell and performed by Solidarity Notes Labour Choir, from the CD "A New World for Our Heirs"."Sit Down" written by Maurice Sugar and performed by Manhattan Chorus.Tracy Ford, "A History of Asbestos in BC", BC Labour Heritage Centre and WorkSafeBC, 2015. https://youtu.be/uEOgZt2y1_IDave Pritchett, Oral History interview, BC Labour Heritage Centre, 2018.Linda Brace, "Asbestos - The Silent Killer", United Steelworkers Local 480, 2008. https://youtu.be/H9IkIr3Jm5YRESEARCH: Research and script for this episode by Patricia Wejr & Rod Mickleburgh. Production by John Mabbott.
23:21 09/20/2022
Episode 16: The Union Archive That Almost Didn't Make It
In 2019, former members of the International Woodworkers of America (IWA) along with community historians opened the IWA Archive in Lake Cowichan BC.  Located at the Kaatza Station Museum, the IWA Archive is near the home of the first IWA local in the province. The Museum also houses the fabulous Wilmer Gold Photo Collection. The founding convention of the IWA took place in Tacoma Washington in 1937. Its first President was Harold Pritchett from British Columbia, who was also the first Canadian to lead an international union. John Mountain, Al Lundgren, Pat Foster and Terry Inglis tell the story of how the collection began, was almost lost, and with the help of Archivist Henry John, continue to preserve the records of what was once BC's largest and most powerful union. Bikram (Vic) Berar, whose father Jaswant Singh was an interpreter for South Asian lumber workers and also a Local 1-80 Vice President, explains how important the IWA and the Archive is to his family.FEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond. "Talking IWA" written and performed by Joe Glazer, 1977.Hjalmer Bergren (12:32-12:52)  and Ernie Dalskog (13:17-13:27), "These Were the Reasons": Stories of Union Organizing in BC, BC Overtime, 2011. https://youtu.be/NFwpDcBUPlw RESEARCH: Research and script for this episode by Patricia Wejr & Rod Mickleburgh. Production by John Mabbott. 
27:27 07/05/2022
Episode 15: Smelter Wars
The workers at the lead-zinc smelter in Trail, British Columbia have a long history of overcoming formidable obstacles to unionization. Contentious politics, a company union and two World Wars are some of the issues discussed in this episode.  We talk to Ron Verzuh whose new book Smelter Wars: A Rebellious Red Trade Union Fights for its Life in Wartime Western Canada  (University of Toronto Press, 2022) has just been published. We also listen to archived interviews with two men who worked in the smelter in the early 1900s and remembered Ginger Goodwin who led a strike there in 1917.Originally members of the Western Federation of Miners, who became the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers, the workers at the Trail Smelter (Cominco) are now represented by United Steelworkers Local 480.FEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond. “Ode to the Union Smelterman” (1907), author unknown. Performed by Jeff Burrows. RESEARCH: Research and script for this episode by Patricia Wejr & Rod Mickleburgh. Production by John Mabbott. Andrew Waldie interview, RECORDED: 1975-12-18 by Howie Smith. ©Royal BC MuseumEd Provost interview, RECORDED: 1975-12-20 by Howie Smith. ©Royal BC MuseumCominco History – Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre retrieved at https://www.rosslandmuseum.ca/cominco
40:35 05/09/2022
Ep. 14: The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
As Black History Month comes to a close, On the Line marks the occasion with a fascinating look back at the history of train sleeping car porters, almost all of whom were Black. It's a story that has only recently started to be told, and combines the history of Black employment in Canada, unionization and the fight for dignity and equality.  We examine those long lost days mostly through the voice of Warren Williams, whose Uncle Lee was in the forefront of the drive to organize Sleeping Car Porters in Canada. Warren is the current President of CUPE Local 15, representing inside workers at the City of Vancouver.Learn more: https://www.labourheritagecentre.ca/frank-collins-union-leader-black-activist-1940s-vancouver/Listen to Warren's full interview here: https://vimeo.com/643640604FEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond."Too Too Train Blues" - Performed by Big Bill Broozy"Midnight Train" - Performed by Oscar PetersonRESEARCH: Research and script for this episode by Patricia Wejr & Rod Mickleburgh. Our thanks to Warren Williams for sharing his family's story as part of the BC Labour Heritage Centre Oral History Project in Feb. 2021, an interview which the clips in this episode are featured from.Black Strathcona Project. http://blackstrathcona.com/Travis Tomchuk. Black sleeping car porters: The struggle for Black labour rights on Canada’s railways. Retrieved from https://humanrights.ca/story/sleeping-car-porters
26:29 03/03/2022
Ep 13: Relief Camps of the Great Depression
Featuring archival audio interviews and labour songs of the time, this episode examines the so-called "Dirty Thirties" or "The Great Depression" and the forced labour relief camps the Federal Government of Canada set up in response. We include a special focus on a little known relief camp that was a mere hop, skip and a jump from downtown Vancouver, BC, in North Vancouver. This is the story of the Blair Rifle Range and other relief camps in B.C.Learn more: labourheritagecentre.ca/blair-rifle-range/FEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond."Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" Performed by Al Jolson, 1932. Written by lyricist Yip Harburg and composer Jay Gorney, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" was part of the 1932 musical revue Americana; the melody is based on a Russian-Jewish lullaby. "I Don't Want Your Diamonds Mister" & "Nine Pound Hammer" clips performed by Tom Hawken & his band. Part of the "These were the reasons..." film produced by Howie Smith and BC Overtime.RESEARCH:Research and script for this episode by Patricia Wejr & Rod Mickleburgh. Thanks to Donna Sacuta, Exec. Director of the BC Labour Heritage Centre, for her research on the Blair Rifle Range and contribution to this episode.Building Andy's Range: The History of the Blair Rifle Range by Donna Sacuta. BC Labour Heritage Centre, 2017, rev. 2021.On the Line: A History of the BC Labour Movement by Rod Mickleburgh. BC Labour Heritage Society, Harbour Publishing, May 2018. Interview with Donna Sacuta conducted by Patricia Wejr on behalf of the BCLHC, 2022.Interview with Jean Shiels conducted by Sara Diamond, 1980s. Original Format: The VIVO Media Arts Centre. Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives. Sara Diamond fonds.Interview with Red Walsh conducted by Howie Smith, featured in “These were the reasons…” Stories of Union Organizing in British Columbia (2011) Produced by Howie Smith and BC Overtime, this documentary is about the struggle of working people in BC to win basic union rights. Copyright.
25:31 02/08/2022
Ep. 12: The Battle of Blubber Bay, BC, 1938
An epic confrontation just before WWII between mine workers fighting for justice and an arrogant company with authorities in their hip pocket. This is the story that has come to be known as The Battle of Blubber Bay.Once a whaling station on Texada Island, Blubber Bay, British Columbia was home to an enormous open-pit limestone mine on the north end of the island. Starting just after the turn of the century, workers - many of them Chinese - had toiled away in the 250-ft deep pit. An obstinate mine manager and a wage cut motivated them to join the International Woodworkers of America (IWA). On June 2, 1938, two-thirds of the company's 156-strong workforce walked off the job as a last-ditch effort by the IWA to try and secure a foothold in BC. The battle that followed was legendary.FEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond."Blubber Bay Boogie" - Wesley Wheelwright, [Weeley Wright] from the record Songs of BC, 1958."IWA Marching Song" - Joe Glazer, Songs for Woodworkers, "Forty Years of Progress 1937-1977". 1977.BACKGROUND MUSIC:"Angel Tooth" - Zander, Blue Dot Sessions URL: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Blue_Dot_Sessions/Zander/Angel_ToothVOICEOVERS: "Rookie Police Officer" & "Vancouver Sun Reporter"  voiced by John MabbottRESEARCH:Research and script for this episode by Patricia Wejr & Rod Mickleburgh.Hak, Gordon Hugh, Capital and Labour in the British Columbia Forest Industry, 1934-74, (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2007)Neufeld, Andrew and Andrew Parnaby, The IWA in Canada: The Life and Times of an Industrial Union, (Vancouver: New Star Books/IWA Canada, 2000)Parnaby, Andy. “‘We’ll hang all policemen from a sour apple tree!’: Class, Law, and the Politics of State Power in the Blubber Bay Strike of 1938–39.” MA thesis, Simon Fraser University, 1995.Parnaby, Andrew, “What’s Law Got to do With it? The IWA and the Politics of State Power in British Columbia, 1935-1939,” Labour/Le Travail, 44 (Fall 1999), 9-45.Phillips, Paul A., No Power Greater: A Century of Labour in British Columbia, (Vancouver: BC Federation of Labour, 1967)Russwurm, Lani. Blubber Bay Strike (1938 – 1939). BC Labour Heritage Centre Archives.Stanton, John, Never Say Die!: The Life and Times of a Pioneer Labour Lawyer, (Vancouver: Steel Rail Publishing, 1987)Wejr, Patricial and Howie Smith, Fighting for Labour: Four Decades of Work in British Columbia, 1910 – 1950 (Victoria, BC: Sound Heritage, 1978) 
19:06 12/08/2021
Ep. 11: Chinese Farmers of "Celery City", Armstrong BC
The small community of Armstrong, BC, just north of Vernon in the province's Interior, was once "the Celery Capital of Canada". Armstrong's early agricultural success owes much to the hard working Chinese immigrants who cultivated the city's fertile bottomlands. As many as 500 Chinese labourers lived in huts and bunkhouses in Chinatown in the winter, growing crops including celery, cabbage, lettuce and potatoes to be shipped across Canada. They faced restrictive immigration laws, a prohibitive head tax and were prevented from owning land; despite these obstacles, Chinese "market gardens" and their workers were an integral part of British Columbia's labour history. This is their story. A bronze plaque dedicated to the Chinese Farmers of "Celery City" was installed in 2016 by the BC Labour Heritage Centre and the City of Armstrong. FEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond."Celery Stalks at Midnight" Performed by Doris Day & Les Brown and his Orchestra, February 6. 1941.BACKGROUND MUSIC:Three Folk Songs - Williams Chinese Music EnsembleTraditional Chinese Folk Music at Beijing's Temple of Heaven - Unknown Artist VOICEOVERS: "Mary Jong" voiced by Yee Chung Dai"Ben Lee" voiced by Wyng Chow"Captain Cate" voiced by John MabbottARCHIVAL CLIPS: Clips from "Armstrong Roots" Interview with Howe Lee by Burnaby Village Museum researcher Denise Fong. An interview with retired Col. Howe Lee about his family's produce business in Armstrong, B.C. (Filmed and produced in 2019 for the CCHSBC 2019 Celebration Dinner). Available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuaqUvQ9oVIFull interview archived with Heritage Burnaby: https://search.heritageburnaby.ca/permalink/museumsoundrecording10266RESEARCH: Research and script for this episode by Patricia Wejr & Rod Mickleburgh. Oral history interviews with Denise Fong, Burnaby Village Museum researcher, available online: heritageburnaby.caPeter Critchley, The Chinese in Armstrong Okanagan Historical Society 63rd Report, 1999Niels C. Kristensen, Armstrong, the “Celery City” Okanagan Historical Society 49th Report, 1985Johnny Serra, Armstrong Packing Houses Okanagan Historical Society 28th Report, 1964Michael Kluckner, Vanishing British Columbia UBC Press, 2005Chinese Market Gardens at Musqueam Reserve #2 retrieved at https://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=21261&pid=0#.XuqsLxoprLQ.emailSarah Ling, Elder Larry Grant featured by UBC Chinese Canadian Stories Project, April 27, 2012 retrieved athttps://indigenous.ubc.ca/2012/04/27/elder-larry-grant-featured-by-ubc-chinese-canadian-stories-project/ Arlene Chan Chinese Immigration Act The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2017, retrieved athttps://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/chinese-immigration-actMary Leah De Zwart, Armstrong, BC – Celery City No More, 2016 retrieved at https://www.bcfoodhistory.ca/armstrong-bc-celery-city/ Daien Ide, Asian Heritage Month: Lim Gong, NVMA News, 28 May, 2020 Early Chinese Canadian Experiences in British Columbia, Royal BC Museum retrieved athttps://learning.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/pathways/chinese-canadian-exp
18:34 10/04/2021
Ep. 10: 'Pins & Needles' - A 1930's Garment Workers' Musical
After a brief summer break, On the Line is back with more BC labour history! In September 1938, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) brought their theatrical musical hit “Pins and Needles” to Vancouver, BC, where it played to glowing reviews. Among the audience were trades union members of all kinds and noted labour artist Fraser Wilson.The cast were all ILGWU members from New York garment factories, or as The Province newspaper reviewer called them “just plain, simple, common, ordinary everyday men and women who work hard for their living.” This is their story.Learn more: https://www.labourheritagecentre.ca/pins-and-needles/FEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond.Songs from the "Pins and Needles" musical featured from Internet Archive: Digital Library under Creative Commons license  https://archive.org/"One Big Union for Two" - performed by Cab Calloway and his Orchestra; by Harold J. Rome"Sing Me a Song with Social Significance" - performed by Nita Carol and Alan Holt; by Harold J. Rome"Doing the Reactionary" - performed by the Hudson-Delange Orchestra and Mary McHugh; by Harold J. RomeVOICEOVERS: "Netty" voiced by Lucie McNeill"Newspaper quotes 1 & 2" voiced by John MabbottRESEARCH: Research and script for this episode by Patricia Wejr & Rod Mickleburgh. Concept based on research by Donna Sacuta, BCLHC Executive Director.https://www.labourheritagecentre.ca/pins-and-needles/https://www.workersunitedunion.ca/our_historyCornell University Library: International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union "Pins and Needles" Additional Scrapbooks Collection Number: 6036/031"Pins and Needles": A White House Command PerformanceAuthor(s): Harry Merton GoldmanSource: Educational Theatre Journal, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Mar., 1978), pp. 90-101Published by: Johns Hopkins University PressStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3206256Patricia Hews Everett-Kabut, UBC Doctor of Philosophy Thesis, 2016: THE COOPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH FEDERATION AND AMATEUR THEATRICALS IN 1930’S VANCOUVER, BCThe Library of Congress In the Muse Performing Arts Blog by Melissa Capozio Jones: “Sing Me a Song with Social Significance”: Harold Rome and the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, Jan. 2021Vancouver Sun, Sept. 1938. via Newspapers.comThe Province, Sept. 1938 via Newspapers.comThe New York Times, 1978: TAILOR‐MADE HIT OF THE 30'S by Tom Prideaux
17:05 08/23/2021
Ep. 9: Indigenous Longshoremen & the I.W.W.
June is Indigenous History Month in Canada, and this year, the country has been rocked by the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of Indigenous children who attended residential school over the decades. This edition of On the Line takes note of Indigenous History month with a different aspect of BC's Indigenous history: one that is not tragic, and not very well known. We examine the contribution of Indigenous workers to the port of Vancouver, particularly in the first half of the 20th century, largely through the voices of those who worked the waterfront - and it's a union story, too. In 1906, the independent Lumber Handlers Union was established as local 526 of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.), with most of the 50 or 60 members being Indigenous. This is their story.Learn more: https://www.labourheritagecentre.ca/bows/ FEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond."There is Power in a Union" written by Joe Hill (I.W.W.), performed by Joe Glazer & Bill Friedland, 1954, "Songs of the Wobblies" LP Record.INTERVIEWS: Clips from the ILWU Canada Podcast "The Docker" episode 33. Full episode: https://thedockerpodcast.libsyn.com/ep33-first-nations-history-on-vancouvers-waterfrontDelbert Guerin interview is part of the (Re)Claiming the New Westminster Waterfront collection at the New Westminster Museum & Archives and Simon Fraser University. RESEARCH: Research and script for this episode by Patricia Wejr & Rod Mickleburgh.Parnaby, Andrew. Citizen Docker : Making a New Deal on the Vancouver Waterfront, 1919-1939 / Andrew Parnaby. University of Toronto Press, 2008.ILWU Local 500 Pensioners. (1975) Man along the shore! : The story of the Vancouver waterfront : As told by longshoremen themselves : 1860's - 1975. College Printers - 2015 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C.Rod Mickleburgh. (2018) On the Line: A History of the BC Labour Movement. BC Labour Heritage Society, Harbour Publishing.
22:06 06/29/2021
Ep. 8: Uniting Woodworkers Across Ethnic Divides
May is Asian Heritage Month; last month was Sikh Heritage Month. Both groups are justly celebrated for their contributions to the fabric of BC. At the same time, they also suffered many years of exploitation and discrimination, much of it in the workplace. For many reasons, including the racist policies of many unions, they were very hard to organize - but one union, the International Woodworkers of America (IWA), met the challenge head-on. This is the story of three remarkable Asian organizers - Roy Mah, Darshan Singh Sangha and Joe Miyazawa - specifically hired by the IWA in the midst of World War Two to break down racial barriers and bring woodworkers of all races into the union.Learn more: https://www.labourheritagecentre.ca/ethnicdivides/FEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond. "The Greenhorn Song" & "Way Up the Ucletaw"  performed by Jon Bartlett/Rika Ruebsaat from The Young Man in Canada (2008) From the singing of Ed Dalby, Campbell River, 1959, with the first stanza by Phil Thomas. Ucletaw is the Yuculta Rapids, up the coast from Vancouver. Loggers supplied their own blankets. Pitchbacks are Douglas fir, so called because the bottom of the tree collects pitch. The early loggers stood on springboards, often several meters above the ground, so they could chop above the pitch. The song is preceded by the sounds of a two-man saw at work and shouts of timber! and down the hill! drawn from Robert Swanson's aural archives.  More information can be found below or at www.jonandrika.org "The Greenchain Song" from Now It's Called Princeton (2008) performed by Rika Ruebsaat.INTERVIEWS: Clips from Roy Mah interview by Paul Yee, Feb. 26, 1987. City of Vancouver Archives AM1523-S3-: 2008-010.4287Clip in Punjabi of Darshan Singh Sangha interview by Dr. Hari Sharma, March 11 ,1985. Part of The Indo-Canadian Oral History Collection, Simon Fraser University Archives. F-77-1-0-0-0-18Clips of interviews with Harinder Mahil & Dilbagh Johal. Part of a series of Co-op radio reel-to-reel tapes, produced by the Boag Foundation, donated to the BC Labour Heritage Centre in 2019 by Allen Seager.Clips from Joe Miyazawa interview conducted by the National Nikkei Museum & Heritage Centre, 1994. Part of the Japanese Canadian Oral History Collection, Simon Fraser University Archives.  1994.80.10 (PART 1)RESEARCH: Research and script for this episode by Bailey Garden & Rod Mickleburgh.Andrew Neufeld and Andrew Parnaby. (2000). The IWA in Canada : the life and times of an industrial union. Vancouver : IWA Canada/New Star Books.Harjit Daudharia, ed. (2004). Darshan. Darshan Singh Sangha ‘Canadian’ Heritage Foundation.Rod Mickleburgh. (2018) On the Line: A History of the BC Labour Movement. BC Labour Heritage Society, Harbour Publishing. “Interview with Harold Pritchett, Founding President of the International Woodworkers of America” by John Mountain, Digging into History, 2.8 (August, 2020)
29:07 05/24/2021
Ep. 7: Bea Zucco's Fight for Silicosis Compensation
April 28th marks Canada's annual Day of Mourning. Of course, industrial accidents are not the only risk workers face; occupational diseases, brought on by hazardous workplace conditions, have also claimed a terrible toll. One of the worst has been silicosis, a coating of the lungs by deadly silica dust inhaled by generations of hard-rock miners. To mark this month's Day of Mourning, we bring you the story of Bea Zucco: a third generation pioneer from Grand Forks, BC and a miner's wife. Ordinary in so many ways, and yet absolutely extraordinary in her determination to see justice prevail and secure a WCB pension for her silicosis-stricken husband. This is her story.Learn more: labourheritagecentre.ca/zuccoFEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond."Silicosis is Killin' Me" - First recorded by Pinewood Tom, a pseudonym for Joshua White, February 26, 1936, on Conqueror #8673."Cold, Cold Heart" - Written and performed by Hank Williams.INTERVIEWS:Clips of Bea Zucco are from a recording conducted by Les Johnson on behalf of the Boundary Historical Society. It was one of a series of "Living Books" events that took place early in 2013, hosted by gallery 2, the art gallery in Grand Forks BC. VOICEOVERS:"1950's Bea" - Lucie MacNeil"WCB/journalist" - John MabbottRESEARCH:Research and script for this episode by Patricia Wejr and Rod Mickleburgh.
21:53 04/07/2021
Ep. 6: AUCE Achieves Full Maternity Benefits, 1974
In 1974, years before other Canadian unions won maternity leave benefits in collective agreements, the Association of University & College Employees (AUCE) Local 1 at the University of BC (UBC) made history. In its first collective agreement, UBC clerical and library workers achieved contract language that provided fully funded maternity leave for its members. It was a breakthrough not just for workers at UBC, but for families across the country. This is their story.Guest host Bailey Garden (BC Labour Heritage Centre) tells the tale of this independent, feminist union in honor of Women's History Month.Learn more: labourheritagecentre.ca/AUCEFEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond."Union Maid" and "Bread and Roses" featured in clips from "A Union for Working Women at UBC - AUCE 1" video, produced by Julius Fisher, Working TV.  2018.INTERVIEWSJanet Judd, postal worker - Sara Diamond interview, 1979. Sara Diamond fonds, Women's Labour History Project. Archival clip used with permission of the Crista Dahl Media Library & Archives. Available online for research and reference: http://www.vivomediaarts.com/archive/janet-juddInterviews with AUCE 1 members, in order of appearance:Sussanne Lester; Jackie Ainsworth; Ian Mackenzie; Emerald Murphy; Jean Rands.Interviews conducted by Karen Ranalletta on behalf of CUPE 2950. Clips from "A Union for Working Women at UBC - AUCE 1" video, produced by Julius Fisher, Working TV.  2018. Used with permission of CUPE Local 2950.RESEARCH:Research and script for this episode by Bailey Garden. Honorée Newcombe, “Coming Up from Down Under: A Hopeful History of AUCE,” in AUCE & TSSU Memoirs of a Feminist Union, 1972–1993 (Burnaby, BC: Teaching Support Staff Union Publishing, 1994). “Kinesis.” Vancouver: Vancouver Status of Women. April 1977 and April/May 1979. Association of University and College Employees (AUCE) fonds. University of British Columbia Library Rare Books and Special Collections, Vancouver, Canada. Working TV, A union for working women at UBC - AUCE 1, filmed 2019, https://vimeo.com/336116722, 16:09. "Maternity & parental benefits". Canadian Labour Congress. No date.  Article retrieved online: https://canadianlabour.ca/who-we-are/history/maternity-parental-benefits/"Women's History in the Postal Unions". Canadian Union of Postal Workers, March 21, 2001. Article retrieved online: https://www.cupw.ca/en/campaign/resources/womens-history-postal-unionsBACKGROUND MUSIC:"Funky Fortune" - Ketsa"Over the Sea" - Lobo Loco"Thirds" - Crowander
29:42 03/01/2021
Ep. 5: The 1921 New Westminster Teachers' Strike
In this episode, we look back one hundred years to Valentine's Day, 1921. On that traditional day of romance, a group of courageous public school teachers in New Westminster, BC did the unthinkable: they went on strike. Their walkout had a lasting, positive impact on teachers across the province for years to come. There would not be another strike by a teachers local in the province for 53 years. This is their story.What led these teachers, most of them young women, to take their bold action was a familiar situation that continued to plague teachers for decades - a stubborn local school board, the right to arbitration, and recognition of their union.Learn more: https://www.labourheritagecentre.ca/bctfFEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond."Lament for Education" - Written by Christina Schut, 2002. "As Long As It Takes" - Written by Geoff Peters and Marion Runcie, October 2005.The songs in this episode were performed by a group of BCTF activists called More Than Just Pay performed a sampling of teacher "protest" or "folk" songs from major BCTF campaigns starting in the 1970s. The songs were created by teachers to inform, educate, motivate and entertain.  Used with permission of Geoff Peters. Part of the BCTF Online Museum's "History in Song" collection.  bctf.ca/history/ VOICEOVER:"William Plaxton" - Wayne AxfordINTERVIEWSKen Novakowski, past President of the BC Teachers' Federation & retired chair, BC Labour Heritage CentreSarah Wethered, President, New Westminster Teachers' Union & BC Labour Heritage Centre volunteerInterviews done by Patricia Wejr on behalf of On the Line, 2021.RESEARCH:Research and script for this episode by Patricia Wejr & Rod Mickleburgh.BC Federationist February 21, 1921BC Labour Heritage Centre pamphlet by Nicol, Janet New Westminster teachers deliver a special Valentine almost a century agoNorman, Steve The New Westminster Strike of 1921 The BC Teacher Jan-Feb 1984Novakowski, Ken and Wethered, Sarah Jan-Feb 2021 Teacher Magazine New Westminster teachers make BCTF history – 100 years agoVancouver Sun, February 1921
27:10 02/01/2021
Ep. 4: The Vancouver Island Coal Strike
From the 1870's on, the coal miners of Vancouver Island had fought strike after strike to force the hardnosed coal barons to recognize a union. Thanks to strikebreakers, blacklists, anti-union courts and the forces of so-called law and order, they lost them all. Finally, in 1911, the miners invited in the tough, experienced and deep-pocketed United Mineworkers of America (UMWA) to make one last all-out attempt to bring the mine owners to heel.What started as a flare-up over safety quickly sparked into  a conflict that was the most protracted, violent and hard-fought strike in BC's long labour history. It lasted two years, from 1912 to 1914. This is the story of the Vancouver Island Coal Strike.Find resources, lesson plans and more: labourheritagecentre.ca/GreatCoalStrike FEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond. “Bowser's Seventy Twa" - Performed by Rika Ruebsaat and Jon Bartlett, used with permission of Jon Bartlett.  Our thanks to Simon Trevelyan for helping to provide an mp3 copy."Nanaimo Jail" - Performed by Jon Bartlett. Part of a series of Co-op radio reel-to-reel tapes, produced by the Boag Foundation, donated to the BC Labour Heritage Centre in 2019 by Allen Seager."Are You From Bevan?" Performed by Phil Thomas accompanied by Barry Hall (vocal, guitar) & Michael Thomas (mandolin), from Phil’s LP/CD Where the Fraser River Flows (1962). VOICEOVERS:"Mother Jones" - Lucie McNeill"Anonymous Voices 1 & 2" - Ann-Marie Zak"Ellen Greenwell" - Bailey Garden"Lempi Guthrie" - Katie Gartlan-Close RESEARCH:Research and Script for this episode by Rod Mickleburgh & Patricia Wejr. Anonymous Quote #1 published in the Vancouver Sun, 12 Feb 1913. BC Federationist 19 September 1913.Bowen, Lynne 1982 The Coal Mines of Vancouver Island Remember: Boss Whistle. Oolichan Books: Lantzville, BC.CBC Radio's "The Coal Miner" - (CBC Archives VR001601) Interview Transcriptions – Joseph Gold, Alex McKinnon & Mrs. Guthrie.Ellen Greenwell interview, AAAB4861, Royal BC Archives sound recordings.Hinde, John 1997 “Stout Ladies and Amazons: Women in British Columbia Coal-Mining Community of Ladysmith, 1912-1914.” BC Studies 114:33-57.Miners Clips from Howie Smith interview with Ben Horbury, Henry Gibson and Bob McAllister (with his son, Jack McAllister), 1975. Part of a series of Co-op radio reel-to-reel tapes, produced by the Boag Foundation, donated to the BC Labour Heritage Centre in 2019 by Allen Seager.Wejr, Patricia and Smith, Howie 1978 Sound Heritage Vol VII, Number 4 “Fighting for Labour: Four Decades of Work in British Columbia 1910-1950.Kavanagh, Jack 1914 The 1913 Vancouver Island Miners Strike. Socialist History Project.On the Line: A History of the BC Labour Movement by Rod Mickleburgh. BC Labour Heritage Society, Harbour Publishing, May 2018.  BACKGROUND MUSIC:"Reville Variation; Drum Call; Slow Scotch; Quick Scotch; Yankee Doodle "(Montage) - Performed by The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps
23:56 01/05/2021
Ep. 3: The 1983 Tranquille Occupation
On July 19, 1983, members of the BC Government and Service Employees Union, better known as the BCGEU, learned that the large Tranquille Institution in Kamloops, British Columbia would be shut down. For the 600 BCGEU members at the site, many of whom had worked with the residents for years, this was simply unacceptable. They decided to take matters into their own hands.A hand-painted union flag was raised, locks were changed, managers evicted, and the workers took control. The unprecedented worker occupation lasted for 22 days. It was the first action to be taken under the banner of Operation Solidarity, the massive protest movement that brought the province to the brink of a General Strike. This is the story of the Occupation of Tranquille. Learn the story of the 1983 Solidarity Movement: www.labourheritagecentre.ca/VMCFEATURED MUSIC: Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond. “General Strike” - D.O.A. (War and Peace 25th Anniversary Anthology; Originally appeared on General Strike 7″ benefit single, 1983). Used with permission by Joe Keithley.  VOICEOVERS: “Anonymous Worker’s Poem” read by Danielle Lavallée.   RESEARCH: Research and Script for this episode by Bailey Garden. Clips from interview with Gary Steeves, conducted by Ken Novakowski in 2018, as part of the BC Labour Heritage Centre’s “Solidarity35” project. On the Line: A History of the BC Labour Movement by Rod Mickleburgh. BC Labour Heritage Society, Harbour Publishing, May 2018.  Tranquility Lost: The Occupation of Tranquille & Battle for Community Care in BC by Gary Steeves. Harbour Publishing, October 2020.  BACKGROUND MUSIC: “Suspect Located” – Scott Holmes. “Cinematic Trailer” – Scott Holmes. “Humanity” – Scott Holmes. “Battle Hymn of the Republic” – US Air Force Band. The labour song “Solidarity Forever” by R. Chaplin uses the tune of this song. “Epic Cinematic” – Scott Holmes. “Drift” – Scott Holmes.
30:42 11/02/2020
Ep. 2: The 1931 Fraser Mills Strike
Nearly 90 years ago, in the dark years of the Great Depression, union membership and the number of strikes in BC fell dramatically; but every now and then, against all odds, workers took a stand. It happened in Sept. 1931 at the Fraser Mills Lumber Plant on the shores of the Fraser River in Maillardville, now part of Coquitlam. A diverse group of rank-and-file workers set aside their racial divisions and came together to fight for better wages, better working conditions and basic respect as human beings. This is their story.FEATURED MUSIC:Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond."Everybody Works But Father" (1905) - Performed by Bill Murray, words and music by Jean Havez."Horsey, Keep Your Tail Up" (1924) HMV B Recording of The Savoy Orpheans, performing as The Romaine Orchestra. Original composed and performed by Melville Gideon, 1923."The Workman's Parade" (1929) Performed by Lacroix Quartette, based on the earlier song "Le Pauvre Ouvrier" composed by Lucien Delormel.  VOICEOVERS:"Bob Bouchette" played by John Mabbott."Worker from Quebec" played by Marc Gamelin.RESEARCH:Research and Script for this episode by Rod Mickleburgh. Rod would like to thank the author of the following thesis, which provided inspiration and valuable information for much of this episode.Ethnicity and Class Conflict at Maillardville/Fraser Mills: The Strike of 1931 by M. Jeanne Meyers Williams. B.A., Simon Fraser University, 1979. THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS In the Department of History © M. Jeanne Meyers Williams, 1982.BACKGROUND MUSIC:"Camp Fermin" - Blue Dot Sessions."Up Folk" - Ketsa."Dusty Hills" - Ketsa."Campfire Interlude" - Blue Dot Sessions.
23:56 10/05/2020
Ep. 1: Joe Naylor
At the annual Miners Memorial Weekend held in Cumberland, British Columbia each June, participants lay roses at the grave of the famous labour martyr Ginger Goodwin. Nearby his distinctive headstone, almost unnoticed, is a simple metal plate affixed to a stone. This modest marker identifies the grave of coal miner Joe Naylor (1872-1946), an unsung hero of the labour movement and both comrade and mentor to Ginger: A socialist, pacifist, modest, principled leader and supporter of working class aspirations for a better world. This is his story. FEATURED MUSIC:Theme song: "Hold the Fort" - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992. Part of the "On to Ottawa" film produced by Sara Diamond."Nanaimo Jail" - Performed by Jon Bartlett. Part of a series of Co-op radio reel-to-reel tapes donated to the BC Labour Heritage Centre in 2019 by Allen Seager.Butte Miners' Song - "I Once Was A Carman on the Great Mountain Con" performed by Jeff Burrows for the BC Labour Heritage Centre, 2020."Are You From Bevan?" Performed by Phil Thomas accompanied by Barry Hall (vocal, guitar) & Michael Thomas (mandolin), from Phil’s LP/CD Where the Fraser River Flows (1962).VOICEOVERS:"Joe Naylor" played by Jeff Burrows."Lester" played by Erik Jarvis.BACKGROUND MUSIC:"Ruy Blas Overture" (Mendelssohn) - Victor Herbert Orchestra (1913). "Maple Leaf Rag"  - Vess L. Ossman."Aguirre the Wrath of God" - Gary Lucas."Downfall" - Kai Engel."Homeroad" - Kai Engel."Bedroll" - Blue Dot Sessions."The Red Flag" - Ogg Vorbis.RESEARCH:Fighting for Dignity: The Ginger Goodwin Story by Roger Stonebanks. Canadian Committee on Labour History, AU Press, January 2004.A Crisis of Commitment: Socialist Internationalism in British Columbia during the Great War by Dale Michael McCartney. B.A., Simon Fraser University, 2004. THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS In the Department of History © Dale Michael McCartney 2010. BC Federationist – UBC Special Collections.Western Clarion – UBC Special Collections.The 1913 Vancouver Island Miners Strike by Jack Kavanagh.Socialist History Project: The Vancouver Island Strike issued by the B.C. Miners’ Liberation League, Vancouver, B.C.Seeing Reds: The Red Scare of 1918-19: Canada’s First War on Terror by Daniel Francis. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2010.Founded on Coal - A History of a Coal Mining Community: The Parish of St. Matthew, Highfield and Winstanley by Ray Winstanley and Derek Winstanley, 1981.When Toil Meant Trouble: Butte’s Labor Heritage by George Everett.www.butteamerica.com/labor.htmJoe Naylor, Staunch Trade Unionist, Dies. Canadian Mineworker Obituary, 1946.
31:07 09/04/2020