January 3, 2012

Half a century of keeping B.C. strong

Happy New Year, to all 85,000 CUPE BC members!  I hope you were able to enjoy the holidays with your friends and families and get some much-needed rest after an extremely busy 2011. As we plan our activities for this coming year—including CUPE BC’s 49th annual convention, April 25-28 in Victoria—it’s important to look back on the year past as well.  It was a remarkable year for our province, our country, and our union.

The November local elections, for example, saw a record number of CUPE members run as candidates.

October 7, 2011

Here’s to public-private partnerships we can truly embrace

A few years ago, when I began touring the province to talk about strengthening local economies, some reporters asked why Big Labour was spending so much time hobnobbing with business people, chambers of commerce, and even BC Liberal MLAs. The implication seemed to be: “You’re natural enemies. What common ground could there possibly be?”

That thinking was misguided. Sure, I’m not exactly chummy with these folks when our members are being legislated back to work—or the local board of trade is endorsing Philip Hochstein’s view of the world.

August 12, 2011

We need to think outside the box on local economic growth

An edited version of this column was published in The Province – August 12, 2011 

With stock markets teetering and the doom and gloom of recession once again on the horizon, financial analysts will tell you that local economies are headed to hell in a hand basket because they depend on every twitch and turn of the global marketplace.

I disagree.

April 26, 2011

Let’s all give a Shift!

Already this year, we’ve seen the swearing in of a new premier and a “new” cabinet. While we wish Premier Clark well—and are glad that one of her first moves was to raise the minimum wage, which had been frozen since 2001—we see no real signs of the BC Liberal government moving away from the Campbell record of big tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and big businesses, and fewer services and more fees for the rest of us. By the time most of you read this issue, the NDP will have just chosen its new leader.

February 24, 2011

Let’s build stronger local economies by shifting our spending

Last week I had the privilege of launching our Ten Percent Shift campaign in Langford. More than 400 people turned out to the launch, and I was extremely pleased with the response.

September 24, 2010

Time to embrace the Ten-Per-Cent Shift

As many of you know, I have often spoken of the importance of local communities and local economies. The two go hand in hand. Without a strong economic base, no community can truly succeed.

August 31, 2010

Time for bold solutions to save public services

Every year at this time, union leaders like me are asked to share our thoughts on the significance of Labour Day and the contributions of working people to the communities where we live and work. I often say that working people are the true engines of the economy, and that will never change.

August 27, 2010

Celebrate Labour Day!

With Labour Day 2010 just around the corner, the BC Federation of Labour will again be celebrating the day along with its members, friends and colleagues.

July 22, 2010

First summer job for kids should be a positive learning experience, not a sweat shop

Now that the school year is over, lockers cleaned out and vacation plans made, many students will be looking for, or already working at, summer jobs. Many folks, myself included, likely have fond memories of their first summer job. My first summer job was working at a gas station; others first entered the workforce by delivering newspapers or working in the hospitality industry.

Many of us are still shocked by the BC Liberals’ introduction of the HST after campaigning on a promise not to do so.

July 9, 2010

Jones reading from the wrong page; Columnist distorts facts with CFIB study; pension tirade 'alarmist'

The following article appeared in the Province newspaper on July 8, 2010.

Laura Jones' call to slash public-sector wages and benefits ( "Time to get really big elephant out of Canada's living room," July 1) is the latest attempt by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business to manipulate research in order to bad-mouth workers who provide public services that are the bedrock of our communities.

Jones' claim that rolling back the wages of public employees will solve the pension and retirement-savings crisis facing so many Canadians is as preposterous as it is mal