VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A militant labour movement has been a part of BC, going back to its earliest days.
Now, one author is laying out its history from start to finish.
On the Line: A History of the British Columbia Labour Movement is the latest book from former labour reporter Rod Mickleburgh.
“Given the rich labour history in this province, why wasn’t there a history book that talked about all that and told people the rich stories that formed the BC labour movement over the years?,” Mickleburgh wondered.
He points out many of the workplace rights we take for granted, were achieved by the labour movement.
“The eight hour day, the five day [work] week, overtime pay, paid vacations, sick leaves, health and safety, paid maternity leave, equal pay for equal work by women, the minimum wage, workers’ compensation, it goes on and on,” he explains.
Mickleburgh points out it’s been many years since someone wrote a general labour history of BC.
“There was one in 1967, 50 years ago was the last labour history of BC, and it’s more of a straightforward narrative of some of the events and unions that were part of the early history of the labour movement.”
However, this book is different. Its coffee-table book format, complete with more than 200 photographs, is meant to make it accessible to a wider audience.
“Even without my text, you get a sense of what the labour movement has been through, what it’s achieved, and its early history. I just find the photos terrific.”
Mickleburgh says “On the Line” is dedicated to legendary BC labour leader Jack Munro, who wondered why the history of the province’s working people wasn’t known more widely.
You can pick up a copy of the book at the launch party, planned for May 1st, with special guest Premier John Horgan expected to attend.