Role of Unemployment Action Centres
Clip from BC Labour Heritage Centre oral history interview, 2018.
Mervyn Van Steinburg (Unemployment Action Centre coordinator) [00:00:00] With the whole kind of Operation Solidarity and Solidarity Coalition stuff outside of the Lower Mainland, as I’d said, there was 32 of these Unemployed Action Centres in the province and we were again, I said, storefront operations for Labour councils. And as a result ended up being kind of the staff for Labour councils and so, well the, the solidarity or the, yeah the Solidarity, Operation Solidarity part, which was the union part, would meet through the Labour Council and so on. And whatever they needed done or wanted to have done, whether it was making sure that there was buttons and leaflets and the newsletter and that kind of stuff distributed, we became the arm that did that. So you were very involved in all of this stuff that was there.
[00:00:44] And on the Coalition side, the Solidarity Coalition outside the Lower Mainland. Most of those coalitions were chaired in the communities by Unemployed Action Centre coordinators. So you’re very connected with what was going on in the community and around around the community Coalition stuff for sure. And we did have our own rally in Kelowna too, and you know, I don’t remember the number at the time but it was for that area, pretty big rally. Thousand plus for sure. I remember I was one of the people had to speak at it and I was pretty naive or pretty brand new, and public speaking was not something that was high on my agenda, but I was asked to speak about unemployment and so on. So was very involved and going to meetings seven days a week almost.