I attended the BC Federation of Labour Convention for the first time in 2014 as a young worker and the only delegate from my component. I found it to be a very different experience given that it was primarily focussed on private sector unions and I work in a public sector union.
What was refreshing was primarily the amount of young workers who attended the convention. Within my workforce I am continuously challenged to engage young workers in the labour movement. Not only were there a large contingent of young workers at convention, but at the Young Worker Caucus I was privy to see how engaged young workers are in the public and private sector and also found that there were many workers quite a bit younger than myself who were actively involved in the labour movement.
It was also a very different experience to attend a convention where the primary attendees were from private sector as I find that there is a very different level of experience and mobilization compared to public sectors. Within BC we have seen some very unique challenges and comparing and contrasting perspectives was interesting and provided thought-provoking conversations.
While the challenges in BC are unique to the region, especially when it comes to environmental issues, the solidarity and energy that the delegates and observers had was an ignitor for new and original ideas as well as inspiration for future endeavors and campaigns. With a contentious election and significant change over the past couple of years, there was no shortage of interesting issues to discuss!
Overall I found the BC Federation of Labour Convention to be a unique experience that public servants rarely get to experience. I would suggest that members in BC attend BC Federation of Labour courses, conferences, etc. if they wish to become more engaged on a local/regional level and within the community. There are a great deal of resources that are underutilized and our membership has a diverse set of interests. There are many avenues in which we can encourage and develop future activists.
Respectfully submitted and in solidarity,
President CIU Local 20040