A Union Built on the Shoulders of Giants

The drive to unionize the pulp and paper mills of Canada was forged by two American unions: in pulp, the International Pulp Sulphite Workers Union (the International), and in paper, the United Papermakers International Union (the UPIU). Each held jurisdiction rights in their respective areas, granted and guarded by the AFL-CIO. They were, one may say, the only game in town…

The Early History of the Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada

The following is an attempt at putting something on paper concerning the organization we belong to, the Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada.

Through installments over time, hopefully, I will be able to compile a record of the formation of this union and its early years. The information is gleaned from our National Leaflet and, in no small part, listening to conversations over the many years. Ultimately, it is my opinion of how events unfolded. While many stood up at the scale, only a few made the bell ring.

This is, essentially, a BC story but, like a lot of the BCites, it begins else-where…

“You can lock up a person, but you can’t lock up an idea.”

The Story of Mouseland was a story told first by Clarence Gillis, and later and most famously by Tommy Douglas, leader of the Saskatchewan Co-operative Commonwealth Federation and, later, the New Democratic Party of Canada, both social democratic parties. It was a political fable expressing the CCF’s view that the Canadian political system was flawed in offering voters a false dilemma: the choice of two parties, neither of which represented their interests.

The mice voted in black cats, which represented the Progressive Conservative Party, and then they found out how hard life was. Then they voted in the white cats, which symbolized the Liberal Party. The story goes on, and a mouse gets an idea that mice should run their government, not the cats. This mouse was accused of being a Bolshevik, and imprisoned. However, the speech concludes by saying you can lock up a mouse or a person, but you cannot lock up an idea.

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