Ken Georgetti

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Ken Georgetti
CM OBC
7th President of the Canadian Labour Congress
In office
1999–2014
Preceded by Bob White
Succeeded by Hassan Yussuff
President of the British Columbia Federation of Labour
In office
1986–1999
Personal details
Born 1952 (age 61–62)
Trail, British Columbia
Political party New Democratic Party
Occupation Pipefitter, trade unionist

Kenneth V. "Ken" Georgetti, CM OBC (born 1952 in Trail, British Columbia) is a Canadian labour union leader. He was elected president of the Canadian Labour Congress in May 1999 and served in the position until May 2014. Georgetti is the longest serving president in the CLC's history.[1]

Trade Union career[edit]

Georgetti arrived at the head of the Canadian Labour Congress after a quarter century of union activism in British Columbia, home to Canada's most polarized politics and of a vibrant labour movement. Born in Trail, in the southern interior of the province, Georgetti first went to work in the giant Cominco smelter, just like his father. He worked in most areas of the smelter and earned his trade ticket as a pipefitter. Following the family tradition, Georgetti became active in the United Steelworkers of America Local 480, rising through the ranks to President of the Local in 1981.

Elected Vice-President of the British Columbia Federation of Labour in 1984, he became its youngest-ever President two years later. At the same time, he broadened his national labour involvement by becoming a Provincial Vice-President of the CLC. During his 13 years as President of the "B.C. Fed", he oversaw the Federation's rapid expansion, with membership growing from 218,000 to more than 450,000.

Strategies[edit]

Georgetti has long advocated what he describes as "intelligent militancy". This proactive approach makes use of a wide range of strategies and tactics to achieve labour's goals. For example, as B.C. Fed President, Georgetti in 1987 led unionized workers in British Columbia in the largest one-day general strike in Canadian history, followed by a successful five-year boycott to protest labour laws and institutions established by the then Social Credit Party of British Columbia government.

Georgetti has also encouraged labour to take active control of union pension plans and began a number of successful, socially responsible investment initiatives. He has used the traditional investor structure at annual general meetings to push corporations to assume social responsibility and implement codes of conduct based on respect for workers' rights and protection of the environment.

CLC goals[edit]

Georgetti's priorities as the leadership of the Canadian Labour Congress included the defence and strengthening of public medicare, organizing greater numbers of workers, providing lifelong learning opportunities, enhancing youth's involvement in unions, increasing literacy levels for all Canadians and combating child labour. Promotion of labour rights and protection of employment standards in an increasingly globalized economy, and international development that respects workers' and human rights, are also key priorities. Under Georgetti's leadership, the CLC has spearheaded worldwide campaigns against corporate globalization, sweatshop manufacturers and the use of child and forced labour.

Georgetti were also involved in international issues, continuing a long CLC tradition. He served as a Vice-President and member of the Executive Board of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions before it merged with World Confederation of Labour, and was a member of its Human and Workers' Rights Committee. He is currently a Vice-President and member of the Executive Board of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and the chair of the ITUC Committee on Workers' Capital. He is also an executive member of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Awards[edit]

Georgetti has been recognized by various levels of government for his contributions to labour relations and the overall well-being of Canadian society. In 1998, he became the first union leader to be appointed to the distinguished Order of British Columbia. In 2000, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada – only the tenth labour leader to be so honoured.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Canadian Labour Congress chief vows aggressive approach". Globe and Mail. May 8, 2014. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bob White
President of the Canadian Labour Congress Succeeded by
Hassan Yussuff