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October 27, 2017 5:08 pm

Major Changes at USW 1-424

Monday, June 12, 2017 @ 1:24 PM

Prince George, B.C. – The weekend saw the United Steelworkers Union Local 1-424 undergo  two significant changes.  First, the  merger of  locals 1-424 and 1-425 was  completed (first reported on 250 News in March) at the  weekend convention in Prince George.  Secondly,  a new president has taken the helm of the new  local ,  which is now USW 1-2017.

The new President is Brian O’Rourke who is no stranger to the USW circle.   He has been with the organization for  20 years, and was the Financial Secretary  before becoming  Vice President a year ago .  O’Rourke brings  a great deal of experience to the table says  outgoing President Frank Everitt.

The merger made sense in that  both locals  were dealing with the same employers, so  it  eliminates redundancy in dealing with issues says Everitt.  With advances in technology it is also  easier to  be in touch with members throughout the north , eliminating the need  for smaller locals.

The merger comes at a time when the forest industry and resource development  are facing challenges  and the new larger local is expected to have more  clout on issues  such as  the softwood lumber  agreement,  anticipated reduction in the annual allowable cut, and   possible mill mergers or closures as a result of those challenges.

The change  also comes at a time  when the political scene  in B.C. is not yet settled.   The Greens hold the balance of  power in the province,   and  resource development is not something they favour “The economics come from this part of the country” says Everitt ” and that has to be important to everybody in  British Columbia, not only those who live in the north, but those who  the lower mainland and  on Vancouver Island.”

With USW 1-2017  covering  an area from 100 Mile House north,  Everitt says the  organization has a lot of clout “I know the executive won’t be quiet about any issues that  are affecting membership here.”

Everitt leaves the post  after  being  President for just over 26 years and with the organization for 37 years.  He says  the union has made some significant  advancements for workers over the nearly 4 decades ” In the time I was involved, working with others  to make those things happen, but we got the  contracting out protection, we got  a long term disability plan that we never had,  improvements to our pension and  an education fund for our membership so that when we needed  to do education we had the resources to enable to do that.”

Everitt may be retiring from the  day to day  workings of the union,   but  expects  to be called for advice from time to time “I’m retiring to Prince George,  I’m not going anywhere.  I will continue my term on Council, I look forward to another term if the  citizens so agree with that.”



Was there an election to vote in ORourke ?, was he just handed the job by Everitt ?. Sure doesn’t seem right, a vote should be called so all members of this joining can vote a new president.

    I agree. Should be an election. USW is a useless union that is a union in dues collection only and its partisan participation in our elections has been disastrous for its membership.

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