Over 100 BCGEU members from northern B.C. and the Interior will be gathering in Prince George for the next three days to map out how their union can build allies in the community while fighting for workplace and social justice. The conference will also serve as the provincial kick-off for the All Together Now campaign.
Prince George (22 Oct. 2010) - "Our members and communities in the north and the interior are facing significant challenges when it comes to cuts to services," said Darryl Walker, president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE).
"This regional conference will give tools to our activists to help them reach out and develop connections in the community."
The members will hear from Walker and a number of speakers including Napoleon Urrutia, an exiled mining union leader from Mexico; Wade Rathke, the founder of ACORN, a community organization in the U.S.; Dr. Charlotte Yates, a labour researcher from McMaster University in Hamilton; Jim Sinclair, president of the B.C. Federation of Labour; and Chris Corrigan, an expert in facilitation and public information.
"I am very excited about the issues we will be discussing," said Walker. "We are especially concerned about the gutting of the Ministry of Forests by the provincial government and the cuts to community living services."
The conference will also see the launch of the union's "All Together Now for Public Services and Tax Fairness", a campaign by the union with its national partner, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), to draw attention to the need for quality public services and fair taxes. The union has appointed a number of "Champions for Change" who will be out in communities gathering support for the initiative.
The union amended its constitution to have regional conferences around the province between the regular convention, which is scheduled for June in Vancouver. The previous regional conference was in Kamloops in October 2009.
The conference starts Thursday night and wraps up at noon on Saturday.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE