VANCOUVER — Fifteen years as leader of the B.C. Federation of Labour is enough for Jim Sinclair, who will not seek re-election as head of the organization that speaks for 500,000 union members.
Sinclair said that it’s the right time for him to step down and he’s proud of the federation’s accomplishments, including those on behalf of late-night workers and farm workers.
He said campaigns focusing on minimum-wage increases, proper employment standards and contracting out have given workers across the province a voice, but more needs to be done.
Sinclair said he regrets that British Columbians don’t yet have the basic right to join a union and that people’s wages are actually going down over time.
“We have to change the fact that we’re racing for the bottom.”
The labour leader said he first realized the power of unions at age 17 when he walked a picket line in Hamilton in support of immigrant women who worked at a textiles plant in Hamilton.
Sinclair said he has no intention of getting into politics after he leaves his position. “ ‘Not at this point,’ he said cautiously,” Sinclair joked. “I’m 60, I’m young. I have enough energy left to take on another challenge in my life.”
He told Vancouver radio station News 1130 that he will take a break and then decide what to do next. “I’m not retiring. I’m going to take up some other challenges,” he said.
The B.C. Federation of Labour will hold its 56th annual convention Nov. 24 to 28 in Vancouver.