Reported by Caitlin O’Flanagan
Irene Lanzinger, President of the B.C. Federation of Labour, delivered a passionate speech about the future of the province at the opening of the 57th Convention of the BC Federation of Labour.
Her address, which drew a standing ovation, kicked off a week of forums, workshops and speeches about labour in the province. Founded in 1910, the BCFED is responsible for organized labour, with over 500,000 members and 1,200 local unions. The conference takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre West from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2.
Unhappy with the current government in B.C., Lazinger hopes for new leadership in the upcoming election on May 9, 2017.
Vancouver locals think that raising the B.C. minimum should be prioritized
Lanzinger is concerned that B.C. is steadily becoming a province where only rich people will be able to live. She is also adamant the government needs to make families a priority and raise the minimum wage.
“We have a government in B.C. that’s not on our side, a government that doesn’t care about working people. We have a premier who puts the interests of the rich and powerful first and the needs of ordinary people last.”
Community members thankful that Lanzinger is pushing for change
Sherry Parkin, who works in occupational health and safety, attended her first convention in the early 70s. Recently “dumped” by her union, Unifor, Parkin has felt huge support from Lanzinger and others on the picket line.
“I actually came here to offer up solidarity and thank you to the various places that have supported us and to hear Irene,” Parkin said.
There was an overall sense of unity amongst the union members in attendance, who were all loud and supportive throughout Lanzinger’s speech.
“We must respond to this kind of politics and our response has to be to build a movement that fights for every single member of the working class and the poor,” Lanzinger said. “A movement that vigorously engages in the battle against racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia.”