On January 1, 2017, after many years serving our membership, our long-time brother, George MacPherson retired as president of the Marine Workers & Boilermakers Industrial Union Local No. 1. Brother MacPherson joined our union in 1975 and served on the executive board before becoming president in 1990. As a new president, he was immediately faced with big challenges, most remarkably, the Federal Government’s cancellation of the Polar 8 Icebreaker Program the same week he assumed his position as president and dealing with our two largest certifications now facing a downturn and eventual dissolve. George worked tenaciously to preserve the jobs he could, negotiated federal funding for re-training and severance packages for those impacted. He then streamlined our union office and dispatching and although our membership was reduced, the union not only survived but remained strong and stable.
George wore many hats during his time in office; he not only performed his duties as president but also managed the daily business at our office. While also serving as president of the Shipyard General Workers’ Federation and executive member of the BC Federation of Labour he soon became labour’s voice for shipbuilding on the West Coast and raised our union’s profile much beyond our membership’s size. Brother George also performed the duties of business agent and relished facing the employers whether negotiating or defending our members and their working conditions. Brother George managed this juggling act always maintaining a keen sense of humour and a sympathetic ear.
On behalf of the membership, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for all he has done and wish him good luck and best wishes for a long, healthy and happy retirement.