Clips from BC Labour Heritage Centre oral history interviews, 2018.
Ken Novakowski (Bargaining Staff, BC Teachers’ Federation) [00:00:00] I can remember in particular in Coquitlam going… Because it was raining. It was always raining. It was just wet. Going on this picket line and, and teachers were actually buoyant. You know, they were feeling empowered by what they were doing. You know, they were, they were standing up, you know. It was great. Good for them. And that was exciting to see that, to see the way they were feeling. And I can remember that particularly in Coquitlam for some reason, although I was throughout the Lower Mainland, but that in particular.
Art Kube (President, BC Federation of Labour) [00:00:37] It was becoming difficult. It’s becoming difficult because here you had a situation where the teachers, just about every school board had an injunction out against any sort of action against. What sort of helped us was that Operation Solidarity and Solidarity Coalition were entities which had no, no legal status.
Stuart Alcock (Representative for Gay Men, Solidarity Coalition) [00:01:15] You know, there comes a point and, and it was perfect clear to me on, and as I was on the picket line out in Burnaby, that a number of, a good number of people on that picket line were low paid government clerical workers. Many of them women, many of them single moms. And I knew that if government were to make [BC]GEU an offer that the members of [BC]GEU would vote for it, because they couldn’t afford to be out on the line for that length of time. At the same time, I think for a bunch of people in the community sector, the fact that we were connecting to the unions, and the unions were seen as much more powerful and much more capable of driving things, that people’s expectations became perhaps too high.
Art Kube [00:02:38] The question is, you get into that sort of “general strike” mood.
Jim Sinclair [00:02:42] Right.
Art Kube [00:02:43] How do you get out of it? You know. I mean, that was, that was a very tough decision. So it was, so what I was able to do, I was able to start talking to people to see what we could do to to find some sort of exit strategy. And lead us to some sort of retreat on the part of the government.
Cliff Andstein (Chief Negotiator, BC Government Employees Union) [00:03:21] Yeah, we knew something was going on and it wasn’t going to be good, because Spector’s involved in both sets of negotiations. We picked up some stuff, that something’s going to happening. And we weren’t going to like it. God, you know.
[00:03:41] We’re staying on strike. Our bargaining committee made the decision. We have a settlement here, but we’re still on strike. Our part of our strike, and we told the government that. We’re staying on strike. We’re not going to resolve this strike until it’s, until the whole matter is resolved. And Spector kind of says, “Well, it’s going to be resolved tonight.”