UFCW 1518 sent more than 50 delegates to represent the union at the 58th convention of the BC Federation of Labour last week. The BC Fed is the governing body of the provincial labour movement, representing 500,000 workers from more than 50 affiliated unions.
There were many highlights of the five-day convention: Secretary-Treasurer Kim Novak was sworn in as Officer of the Federation while Executive Assistant Patrick Johnson was sworn in as Executive Council member. Members rose to speak in support of many important resolutions, including ones on improving health care for seniors, implementing universal pharmacare and supporting precarious workers. Premier John Horgan received a rock star’s welcome. It was the first time in more than 16 years that a premier had spoken at the BC Fed convention, and he spent time with delegates after his speech, posing for selfies with all who wanted one. Other notable speakers included Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, and leader of the federal NDP Jagmeet Singh, all of whom acknowledged the importance of the labour movement in making a better world.
Irene Lanzinger, first woman president of the Federation, did not seek a third term. She will be remembered for her many accomplishments as leader of the Fed, not least among them winning the Fight for $15. Laird Cronk, an organizer with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, was acclaimed as the Federation’s new president while Sussanne Skidmore, BCGEU executive vice-president, was acclaimed as Secretary-Treasurer. Skidmore replaces Aaron Eckman, who also did not stand for re-election.
“I am so proud of our delegates!” said Secretary-Treasurer Kim Novak. “They spoke passionately and articulately about the issues that matter most to our membership. I’m thrilled that we have such strong advocates for working people on our team.”
On the last day of the convention, Secretary-Treasurer Novak rose to publicly thank and honour Ivan Limpright, who was celebrating his last day as president of UFCW 1518. Limpright served the union in a range of capacities for more than three decades and was president for the past 12 years. “It was very emotional but also very humbling to acknowledge Ivan in front of the convention,” she said. “The standing ovation that delegates gave him is just a small indication of Ivan’s contribution, not just to our members and union, but to the labour movement and working people.”
Click here to see our photos of the 58th convention of the BC Federation of Labour.