Archive for the ‘News Articles’ Category

Solidarity Between Generations

June 26, 2019

Elder Union Women Share Their Wisdom

by Janet Nicol

“I hear people say, ‘I hope I die before my pension runs out,’” Suzanne Clancy declares. “It shouldn’t be that resources only last so many years. I’ve been retired since 2006. Not once has my pension been adjusted with the rate of inflation. It puts retirees on the fringe and it can be devastating.”

Clancy, President of the Ontario Federation of Union Retirees (OFUR), is 77 years old with a lifetime of union activism behind her. She is wise, experienced — and generous with her knowledge.

“OFUR has amazing women,” says Janice Gairey, praising Clancy for her leadership and commitment. “They get it, and the organization has been transformed into a collective.” A labour activist and union organizer for over four decades as well as a mother of six and grandmother of 18, Gairey is an amazing woman herself. After retiring as human rights director of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) in 2015, she joined the council of OFUR and is also secretary of the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC).

So begins my interview with two Ontario-based union activists on issues affecting Canada’s seniors in the latest issue of “Our Times” magazine (Summer, 2019).

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A Glimpse into Social Justice 12 Classrooms Reveals Dynamic Lessons

September 18, 2018

by Janet Nicol

Long-term thinking is not radical. What’s radical is to completely alter the planet’s climate, to betray the future of my generation. What’s radical is to write off the fact that change is within our reach. —Anjali Appandurai

Stacey McEachern introduces a climate justice unit to her students using this and other powerful quotes from environmentalists.   The unit is part of a Social Justice 12 course that McEachern teaches at Eric Hamber Secondary School, one of eleven Vancouver  secondary schools running the course this school year.

Social Justice 12 is a popular elective that has been offered across the province since 2008.

While there is no prescribed text or final exam, this course prepares students for future studies by giving them opportunities to analyze, discuss and participate in a wide variety of social issues.

A glimpse into some of Vancouver’s classrooms shows teachers and students are engaged in many dynamic lessons.

-Article excerpt, Social Justice newsletter, (BC Teachers’ Federation) Summer/Fall 2018, available on line at the BCTF website.

Watercolour, 2018, by Janet Nicol – A red rose became a symbol for social democrats in western Europe in the decades following the Second World War.

Vancouver Health Collective Celebrates 45 Year

August 28, 2018

by Janet Nicol

Vancouver in the 1970s was chock full of feminist collectives, from bookstores to singing groups, with their members pledging to live up to the ideal of equality in the decision-making process.

Fast forward to 2018. The Vancouver Women’s Health Collecive, located in the city’s Downtown Eastside, is among the few collectives to live on. It’s gone through many transformations but remains an important voice on women’s health. The organization is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year.

Read more in Herizons magazine, Summer, 2018.

Labour notes

May 15, 2018

by Janet Nicol

Check out Labour Notes in the latest issue of “Our Times” on the retirement musings of the Vancouver Trade and Labour Council’s President Joey Hartman along with the latest information about the unique and important Simon Fraser University labour studies courses.

Indigenous lives matter

April 16, 2018

by Janet Nicol

This February, a visibly all-white jury acquitted Gerald Stanley of second degree murder in the death of Colten Boushie, a 22 year old man from Red Pheasant First Nation reserve in Saskatchewan and even dismissed the charge of manslaughter, accepting his defence that the gun fired accidentally. Thousands of Canadians – indigenous and non-indigenous – took to the streets in cities across the country, with slogans including ‘I am Colten’ and ‘No justice, no peace’.

I deliver a short report on this case and its aftermath in the current issue of New Internationalist magazine.

Women’s march – 2018

March 8, 2018

Check out the latest issue of Our Times magazine for my report on this year’s women’s march in Vancouver. (Winter, 2017-18)

Women’s Union Video, Fight For $15 & Retail Action Network

May 27, 2017

by Janet Nicol

Watch for my labour notes in the upcoming spring issue of Our Times magazine on…..

a short history video about women’s participation in the BC Government Employees’ Union. The video is available on youtube and has been energizing female members to become more involved in their union.

Also in the notes is an update on the ‘fight for $15’ – an initiative by the BC Federation of Labour to raise the minimum wage so non-union workers can cope with the high cost of living.

Tied with this campaign is the advocacy work of the Retail Action Network on behalf of non-union workers in Victoria.

If anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise in Canada…..

May 5, 2017

How can we fight it?

by Janet Nicol

With the rise of anti-immigration attitudes in the United States and Europe, where does Canada stand? It’s an important question, given recent polls showing Canadians are less tolerant than we like to think.

A survey by VanCity Credit Union revealed 82 per cent of visible minorities in Vancouver said they have experienced some form of discrimination. And 11 per cent said these experiences were traumatic enough to prompt thoughts of moving to a new location.

To read the full article, which includes a look at anti-racism campaigns in Surrey, BC and Ontario, check on the print issue of Canadian Immigrant magazine, available at no cost at public places around Vancouver. The article is also on line at –

http://canadianimmigrant.ca/community/integration/if-anti-immigrant-sentiment-is-on-the-rise-in-canada-too-how-can-we-fight-it

BC Schools Project: Day of Mourning

April 27, 2017

By Janet Nicol

Teaching the next generation of workers how to be safe on the job is becoming an annual event in BC high schools, through the Day of Mourning BC Schools Project. Launched last year, the safety campaign aimed at young people originated with John Decaire, a social studies teacher at Cariboo Hill Secondary, in Burnaby.

“I was struck by the number of people who die or are injured on the job in Canada,” Decaire says, referring to the more than 1,000 work-related deaths in Canada each year. He was also struck by how it is workers under 25 who make up one-third of those who sustain workplace injuries.

Decaire realized many students work at part-time, precarious, non-union jobs, and so receive inadequate training, supervision, or instruction about their rights — including the right to refuse unsafe work. “Our society places much importance on Remembrance Day,” Decaire says, “but more people die on the job in Canada.”

To see the full article on line at “Our Times” magazine. The link is
http://ourtimes.ca/Talking/article_529.php

BC teachers’ Supreme Court win

March 2, 2017

by Janet Nicol

After more than a decade of arguments in three different courts and thousands of dollars in legal costs, the determination of 41,000 unionized teachers in British Columbia finally paid off when Canada’s highest court ruled in November that the provincial government’s contract stripping in 2002 was unconstitutional.

So begins one of several global news stories loyal New Internationalist readers can feel good about, as the magazine celebrates its 500th issue this March, 2017. I interview BC Teachers’ Federation President Glen Hansman about the impact the win has on teachers, education and all working people.

500-01-cover