I will not be able to make the meeting today as it turned out I am a lot more exhausted than I expected.
However, it is still important that I should provide you a short report of my trip to Vancouver.
I spent the past 4 days in Vancouver and I hit up all of the major construction jobsites in the downtown metro including PCL, Turner and the Trump Tower. I also hit up all of the major jobsites at the University of British Columbia for a total of about 24 sites. Vancouver is currently in a building boom, especially for expensive, high rise condos. The CMAW does not publish a public job list, so I found the sites by word of mouth and by foot. None of these jobs were being built by union carpenters or laborers in either CMAW or UBC so I changed my strategy and read the news for developments.
I found out that CMAW landed a major deal with the Vancouver Shipyard in North Vancouver which should provide 300 workers at local 506 with jobs. I went to this jobsite and met a handful of CMAW workers but most of my time talking was in explaining my purpose for being there and why I’d like to hear from them. Most of the workers predictably enough, were just in a hurry to go home (I couldn’t reach the jobsite in time to talk to the workers as they went in).
I consider this effort to be successful in that it is the first time in recent memory that any rank and file carpenters has even attempted to survey the situation on the ground in Vancouver or make contact with CMAW workers. I was able to get some contact info into the hands of several CMAW workers who may or may not follow up. If there are any future attempts at reaching out to CMAW workers, it should be made a little easier.
As to taking over the E-board. I’m not so sure how productive this scheme would be in the long run. I have long come to the conclusion that the problems within the UBC regional council are far greater than just Tweedy who to my knowledge, originally ran as a “reformer” If the portland reformers are successful in rebuilding the eboard, I don’t think that will make much of a difference in the formation of a workers organization. It may mean that they will redouble their efforts in an opportunist direction which will leave the workers out to dry.
So long as we have a “reform” slate that is more concerned with playing politics within the bureaucracy, nobody is going to seriously challenge the ideology that Tweedy and McCarron represent.
My position has been and continues to be to organize the workers in the field to build an independent organization for themselves with the mission to take power for them. We don’t need progressive leadership that refers to workers as products. Vancouver has that—it does the workers little to no good.
An organization by us and for us threatens the Tweedys and McCarrons the most.