BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Summer, 2020
These are times to challenge all of us
With solidarity, we shall prevail
By Diane Wood,
President, BC FORUM
I am sure it’s no surprise to you that BC FORUM’s Annual General Meeting – like many other scheduled events – has been postponed. It will not be held until it is safe to do so.
It’s the first time that’s happened. It’s particularly disappointing as this year’s annual gathering would have been an opportunity for us to get together to celebrate our 25th anniversary. I was looking forward to catching up with sisters and brothers I haven’t seen in a while, and giving them a real hug.
But it is also the first time in a hundred years that we have faced such a fast-moving pandemic. As we and our unions insisted in the workplace: safety first.
We will gather again in the future. We will celebrate together. And we will do so even if it means we have to declare that the number 26 is just as noteworthy as 25.
The birth of BC FORUM
Since we can’t get together in person right now, I want to tell you a bit more about how BC FORUM was created. A little bit of inside scoop.
In the last edition of The Advocate, Ken Georgetti – who at the time was President of the B.C. Federation of Labour and the first Chair of BC FORUM – shared some of the thinking that led to the birth of our organization.
Ken and the BC Fed officers provided crucial support. We wouldn’t be here without their belief in the power of retired workers, working together for positive change.
There is, of course, much more to the story, and many more people who worked to make it happen.
It involved a lot of in-person meetings and arm twisting, things that likely couldn’t have happened in a conference call or video meeting.
Bill Clark and Miriam Olney
I particularly want to single out Bill Clark and Miriam Olney who not only planted the seeds but nurtured and tended them until they took root and grew.
Bill unfortunately passed away a few years ago. Miriam continues the fight. She has served as a member of our volunteer board since the very first meeting and continues to do so to this day.
The original inspiration came from the BC Fed’s Pension Committee where Bill and Miriam were both members and drove the idea forward.
They had already established groups for retirees within their own unions – Bill in the Telecommunication Workers Union (now part of the United Steelworkers), and Miriam in the Retail Clerks Union (now part of UFCW). The members of these groups became the first members of BC FORUM.
With the support of the BC Fed, Bill and Miriam also convinced David Levi at Working Enterprises to provide initial funding, office space, and money for staffing.
In short, they worked their buns off to make it all happen. They can be proud of what they have achieved, and I am very grateful for their relentless work on our behalf.
Until we meet again, I send a virtual hug to you. Please stay safe.