By Valerie Lannon
Almost 30 labour activists took part in a “Solidarity Action Workshop” on September 22 in Victoria. Participants were mainly from the Greater Victoria Teachers Association, BC Government Employees Union and the Hospital Employees Union.
The impetus for the workshop came from discussions among Labour Council delegates about the need for more rank and file organizing. As a result, much of the workshop focused on cross-picketing, including historical and recent examples, plus basic “do’s and don’t’s.”
There was an emphasis on the need to educate members about the importance of solidarity, and about overcoming the fear of government imposed draconian fines. As one participant stated, “We have to say we will strike until all fines are dropped.”
The workshop is very timely, following the September 5 strike by 25,000 BCGEU members–who in Victoria received solidarity from the BC Teachers Federation, CUPW, Health Employees Union, and BC Ferries workers. Since then several public sector unions have taken strike votes or will be doing so shortly–affecting over 250,000 workers.