In Forestry, Uncategorized

On March 12, 2024, members of the Public and Private Workers of Canada (PPWC), along with UNIFOR and the United Steelworkers, participated in a summit in Victoria with members of the British Columbia provincial government. The goal was to confront the enormous challenges faced by the forestry sector and forestry workers in the province.

The three unions developed a program designed to protect and foster employment in the industry, protect Old Growth forests and the environment, and secure future generations a sector that can provide good paying jobs for generations to come.

PPWC First Vice President Geoff Dawe was a main speaker at the event, and discussed the importance of protecting the forestry sector through strong public policies where unions, government and the private sector and work together for the benefit of all British Columbians.

Geoff Dawe’s Presentation (Summary of Full Text)

Good morning. My name is Geoff Dawe and I’m First Vice President of the Public and Private Workers of Canada. Our union is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year as a proudly independent, democratic union which represents workers from throughout the province.

Although the Public and Private Workers of Canada is enlarging its membership into a variety of industries, a large majority of our members are in the forestry sector. Our union is proud to work alongside our brothers and sisters in UNIFOR and the United Steelworkers to fight for the future of forestry workers throughout British Columbia, protecting jobs, the environment and nurturing an industry that has given so much to the province and its people.

There will be many words spoken here today, with a lot of promises. But we must be honest with ourselves: those words and promises mean nothing without action. We are all aware of the obvious benefits of a renewed forestry sector in British Columbia. It may sound like a cliché, but it really is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

There are tens of thousands of families in hundreds of communities throughout the province whose livelihoods depend on the actions we take here today and over the next few months. And we just can’t wait any longer. I look forward to speaking with many of you later today about how we can all work together and take action NOW… right now… to protect and foster an industry that has given so much to the province and its people. Thank you.

Closing Statement

I want to thank you for inviting me here today along with my brothers and sisters from the Public and Private Workers of Canada. The renewal of the forestry sector in British Columbia is a vitally important undertaking, one that will bring out the best in all of us, and a struggle worth fighting for.

The work we did here today is not the end, but a fresh start and a new beginning with our friends from Unifor and the United Steel Workers across the province to protect our communities and families.

In so doing, we just can’t wait any longer. This is our time. We have to take action NOW to protect our future. The struggles and challenges we face in the forestry industry won’t go away on their own. But seeing you all here today reminds us that the worst really is behind us, and there’s nowhere to go but forward.

There are too many people throughout the province who are depending on us. They understand all too well how important this is. And with decisive political leadership, a strong labour movement, and working people who are engaged, there are tens of thousands of people in communities across British Columbia who are ready to support us, because our cause is just and righteous.

We’ve all worked hard to develop a sound, tested set of policies that will protect jobs and working people, safeguard our environment, promote sustainability and innovation, build lasting partnerships with Indigenous peoples, and foster an industry that will last for generations to come.

That’s why I borrow a famous Irish passage from the old country: “Our final victory, brothers and sisters, will be the laughter of our children.”

Thank you.


See the British Columbia Forestry Workers Website

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