Clips from BC Labour Heritage Centre oral history interviews, 2018.
Hanne Jensen (fired Director, BC Human Rights Branch) [00:00:00] I knew it was going to take an awful lot of pressure to get this government to back down. I recognized certain personality characteristics in the Premier. Tough guy. He wanted to be a tough guy and he was not likely to cave or be seen as weak. And I really would, I wouldn’t say, in terms of human rights, I wasn’t at all optimistic. I mean, but I thought there would be, with enough pressure, there’d be changes to the labour legislation. I mean, I really saw that that’s where there was some clout on the other side. But for the Human Rights Commission members, well, they had already become activists and they weren’t going to be invited back and the, they had chastised the government and public in very strong terms. So that was it. And the branch had been decimated and I just could not see that investigators who had been terminated as of October 31, although some of them were able to get reassigned elsewhere against because of the intervention of the BCGEU, I just couldn’t see that that would ever be able to come together again.
Cliff Andstein (Chief Negotiator, BCGEU) [00:01:08] We just knew that if we settled without Bill 2 being gone, there’d be no sense settling, there’d be no sense of being around. The impact of that on our bargaining, and our right to bargain and represent our members was so severe, that we made it clear at the table: no settlement unless Bill 2 is gone. And if you recall, they had put Norman Spector in. The deputy minister to the Premier at the bargaining table. And then went through the song and dance from him. It was as political as it was at the table. We had to convince them that there would be no settlement.
Larry Kuehn (President, BC Teachers’ Federation) [00:01:58] Well, there were a variety of of things that were going on there that, you know what… one of them was an attempt to, to find where there, there might be, you know, the government might, might allow for backing down on Bill 3 and allowing for there to be, you know, a restoration of the right to, to have, have seniority as a basis for, for layoffs. The, you know, there were attempts by, that Jack Munro was involved in, with the B.C. Business Council first and trying to find some kind of resolution, because Munro was absolutely opposed to, to you know, there being a strike and was doing everything he could with the kind of pull he had with a whole variety of forces in the province to, you know, to make sure that there wasn’t a strike. He, his, his members were in it, in a position to go on strike but he didn’t want to strike and he knew that if, if the public sector all went out that it was going to draw in the, the IWA and other parts of the private sector as well. So there were all those attempts to, to you know, to find something that would avoid the, the strike actually starting. You know, our part of the strike where where we would go out.