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Now is the crucial time to Adopt and Implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We’re building a movement of united voices from across the country who are committed to seeing the UN Declaration fully adopted and implemented.

Indigenous Peoples have been pushing for the Declaration for over 30 years – and the issues have not been resolved during that time.

Will you add your voice to the calls for Canada to move forward on a path – not just towards reconciliation, but a path towards equality and justice?

May Days 2016

West Kootenay Labour Council and their affiliates at the Spirit Square in Castlegar an event from 11 am to 2 pm. Music and free food.


There was fun for all.

Thanks you to Cindy McCallum Miller and Joanne Miller who organized this tremendous event.  Thank you,  USW of Trail, BC for the great food, and BCGEU for the Cake. Thanks to the Stone Poets for the wonderful music.

If you did not make it out to this years event, circle it on your calendar for next year.

Labour Notes

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Labor Notes

 Teaching Troublemakers at Heart to be Troublemakers in Action

Labor Notes 2016 was the largest in their 37-year history with nearly 2000 registered delegates including 150 from 22 countries. Some workshops and plenaries provided interpretation in 5 languages (French, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese) to accommodate the international speakers.

Held in Chicago, it allowed many of the delegates to join the one day Teachers Strike in that city as an act of solidarity and join with an estimated 20,000 teachers, parents and allies to shut the downtown core and let the government know that they will not stand idly by and allow the decimation of public education in Illinois.

There were over 100 workshops to choose from so it was impossible for anyone to attend everything, and each workshop was less than 2 hours, so it did not allow in depth interaction. They did allow the delegate to become familiar with issues, learn what tactics and strategies worked in specific campaigns and how to gain new connections with other activists as well as share their own experiences and perspectives.

The overriding message was “Aim High”. Too often union leaders get beaten down because of chronic struggle, constant attacks by management and society, and fear to push the boundaries because they assume their members may not back them. The enthusiasm from activists at this conference, who push their own unions to be more democratic, more visionary and demand better, was a good reminder that if leaders take the time to inspire members, better gains are possible.

Listening to the terrible conditions and oppression American workers face made Canadian delegates want to ensure the differences between the 2 countries are maintained. American companies have not evolved much beyond the Master and Slave relationship, and the prevalence of US business in Canada means we have to be extremely vigilant or else find ourselves in a similar predicament.

The plight of American and Mexican workers who work for Driscoll (sold in all our stores) was quite emotional. They toil 10-12 hours per day for a total of $6.00 in the US and $4.00 in Mexico per day – amid poisons that affect both their health – and they reminded us – are poisoning consumers. They ask us to show our solidarity by BOYCOTTING DRISCOLL BERRIES.

A workshop on the World Social Forum was held to promote the upcoming World Social Forum that is taking place August 9-14 in Montreal. Sister Nathalie Guay from the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN) and other Quebec trade unionists passed along information encouraging unions to be part of the people’s alternative to the elitist World Economic Forum. It is anticipated that thousands of social activists, trade union members and environmentalists will gather to discuss strategies to make a better world. This would be an important opportunity for Canadian trade unionists to be part of a global gathering as these rarely take place in Canada.


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Labor Notes is a progressive organization with the motto “Putting movement back into the Labor Movement” and their conferences are very inspiring, especially for new activists who want to see their unions be more democratic or more inclusive or more militant. You can support Labor Notes by subscribing to their regular publications, purchasing their Troublemaker clothing, making a donation or attending their events. You can get more information at


Day of Mourning

West Kootenay Labour Council President’s Speaking Notes Day Ceremonies

Castlegar, Trail, Nelson

Twenty-five years ago, Canada proclaimed April 28 as the National Day of Mourning for workers injured or killed on the job. While the flag on Parliament Hill will fly at half-mast today, we stand here in the West Kootenay to join together with people across this country to remember colleagues, friends and family who have been victims of workplace related hazards and incidents.

Local union members, as represented by the West Kootenay Labour Council and the Canadian Labour Congress, participate to represent and advocate for each and every worker in the West Kootenay. As we think of those who have been injured, and mourn the loss of those who have died on the job, we also reach out to their loved ones. We are reminded that in order to demonstrate the respect their situation rightly deserves, we must recognize that these  injuries and deaths were all preventable. This fact creates a compelling case for change and action to continually improve the workplace by identifying, mitigating and eliminating the root causes in the workplace; and to work to implement comprehensive action plans to create safe work environments across this country and to share our learnings  to the global community.

Unions in Canada continue to stand up for the health and safety of everyone who works for a living. They work with employers to improve working conditions. They work with governments to improve workplace health and safety standards and pass laws to punish employers who put lives at risk for their own gain. In the past year, Unions have fostered workplace protections for victims of domestic violence. Recognizing that not all injuries are physical, unions are also taking on the stigma of mental illness and factoring it into what makes a workplace healthy and safe.

This year, the Canadian unions are calling for a comprehensive national ban on asbestos. Asbestos is the number one cause of occupational death in Canada. More than 2,000 people die every year from diseases caused by exposure to asbestos—mesothelioma, (mez-oh- thee-lee- oh-ma), lung cancer, and asbestosis. Death from mesothelioma increased 60 percent between 2000 and 2Optional (in Italics) Despite this, imports of items that contain asbestos, like brake pads and cement pipes, are on the rise, increasing the risk of exposure to a known killer. In 2014, imports of asbestos brake linings and pads hit a seven year high, valued at $3.6 million that year alone. There are safe alternatives to asbestos. Asbestos-free brake pads are already manufactured in Guelph, Ontario. This means that substituting for safe alternatives will create Canadian jobs and support Canadian industries.

All worker’s should have a rightful expectation of a safe work environment and unions will continue to play a vital role as the worker’s representative in order create public awareness, to influence and to be an advocate for positive changes to workplace health and safety. This is the promise we keep to those workers who have died or who have been injured, and to their families and to their friends.

“Fight for the Living, Mourn for the Dead”❤ ❤ ❤ ❤  Thank you.

Pictures from Nelson BC and Trail BC