The New Westminster & District Labour Council (NWDLC) is one of 137 Labour Councils chartered by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the national labour organization that represents 3.2 million workers across Canada. We continue the proud union tradition of workers speaking out on issues affecting them in their workplace and their communities and, together, we collaborate to deliver programs and actions consistent with the policies and programs of the CLC.
NOTICE: At the Regular Meeting held February 22nd, 2012, the New Westminster & District Labour Council adopted the following “Scent Free” Policy in consideration for the health of our colleagues with fragrance sensitivities.
MSC the New Westminster & District Labour Council adopt a scent free policy at all meetings, conferences and events and that we serve notification of this policy on all publications.
Please ensure that when attending Labour Council meetings, conferences or events that you refrain from using scented personal care products.
There are 123 local unions affiliated to (are members of) the New Westminster & District Labour Council, representing a total membership of over 56,000. Locals have members who work within our geographical region covering the communities of Burnaby, New Westminster, Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Port Moody, Belcarra, Anmore, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Langley City and Langley Township in British Columbia.
The NWDLC is governed by an of two officers plus 14 members representing local affiliate unions.
There 13 Federal Ridings, 23 Provincial Constituencies, 14 Municipalities and 7 School Boards in our area.
The New Westminster & District Labour Council (NWDLC) represents local union members on issues of local concern. We provide a vehicle for collaboration, action and networking among local union members. Together, we work with our community partners to build a stronger and more compassionate society, one that supports the needs of working families.
Member unions elect delegates from their membership to participate in Labour Council activities. Our meetings provide an opportunity to report on and discuss important union and community issues.
Union members participate in the NWDLC in several ways. They volunteer time to support other union members on picket lines or attend educational seminars and conferences to learn new skills. Some members get involved with community agencies that deliver vital services, serve on community boards and volunteer in civic, provincial and federal election campaigns.
The Labour Council is linked to our political structures and is actively involved in lobbying all levels of government on a range of social and economic issues. We help build a more compassionate, responsive and caring society by linking union members to their government representatives.
Our members communicate their concerns and opinions to elected politicians at all levels so these politicians act in the best interests of the citizens who elect them. Our commitment is to protect and enhance our democratic rights by supporting and advocating citizen involvement in our electoral system and institutions.
Our Labour Council has been standing up and advocating for:
• creation of a universal child care system;
• protections against privatization of our public health care system;
• an increase to BC’s minimum wage;
• changes to the Workers Compensation regulations to protect workers who work alone;
• government accountability and workplace standards for foreign workers;
• federal anti-scab legislation;
• stop the BC Liberal government from removing local government decision-making on transportation infrastructure in the Lower Mainland.
How are we making a difference in our communities:
• Participate on the Board of the United Way of the Lower Mainland and support unionized workplace campaigns to raise money and awareness for vital community services
• Support local food banks through Protein for People Project
• Support workers in crisis through the United Way Union Counselling program
• Educate secondary school students about their workplace rights
• Endorse candidates seeking election to their City Council or School Board
• Volunteers participate on community decision-making Boards and Agencies
• Support the United Way Days of Caring project
• Lobby governments for legislative change that impacts all workers
• Lobby government to protect public services
Recognizing the need for a greater voice at the local level for the suburban local unions and their members, the New Westminster & District Labour Council was formed in 1966, one year after the Port Mann Bridge opened and linked the north and south Fraser River communities in the lower mainland.
Led by Brother Wyman Trineer, President of the New Westminster Local (1-357) of the International Woodworkers of America, a group of six union leaders called on the Canadian Labour Congress to issue a charter to form a new Labour Council. It was to be based in New Westminster to cover the communities east of Boundary Road in Burnaby up to and including the District of Hope on both sides of the Fraser River.
Our first meeting was on June 22, 1966, and in September of that year, the first Executive Board was elected. Delegates attending that meeting were honoured with the presence of Tommy Douglas, then, National Leader of the New Democratic Party. His message to the union members was, “Political decisions are going to be important and trade unionists must continue to give careful consideration to this aspect of their activities.”
Throughout our history, we have been true to the words of a man who recently was remembered and honoured for his contribution to Canada and democracy by being awarded the distinction of being the “Greatest Canadian”.
We are proud of our focus on citizen involvement and our efforts to broaden awareness and understanding of politics. Our Labour Council has become synonymous with political action for working people.
There have been many changes to our physical environment since the New Westminster & District Labour Council was formed almost 50 years ago. The struggles remain the same, however the issues have become more acute and the situation more urgent.
For example, the homeless crisis is now a reality in almost every community in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, a situation that less than a decade ago was largely invisible outside the City of Vancouver.
Thousands of children are without regulated, quality child care or early learning programs, as governments abandon supports to parents.
Good paying industrial jobs are being lost on a daily basis, particularly in the manufacturing and resource sectors.
Skills training is not a priority for governments, yet in recent years they have fast-tracked a temporary foreign worker program to address labour shortages in Canada.
Agricultural workers brought in under a similar scheme are denied equal protection under Provincial employment laws.
Unions working together with the Labour Council are a vehicle for change – our collective voice can make a difference. We are proud of our efforts to bring positive and lasting change for people where they work and live. Our work to address inequities or injustice continues to challenge us.