We are the Union representing the longshore workers on Burrard Inlet and in Howe Sound. Local 500 also represents the Samplers, Testers and Surveyors on ships and docks that do this sort of marine work in the province of British Columbia.
The Preamble to our Local 500 Constitution says:
“Whereas, ever since the beginning of history humankind has struggled
individually and collectively for political, economic, and cultural
advancement and has found their greatest ability to achieve such
advancement through democratic organization: Therefore, we who have
these common aspirations do hereby form ourselves into one individual
union and adopt this Constitution for the guidance of our conduct and the
protection of our democracy within the Union.”
Our actions are governed by the Canada Labour Code, the collective agreements with the employers and the ILWU Local 500 Constitution.
The Local 500 Constitution was adopted June 1966 when the former ILWU Locals (Local 501 Deepsea, Local 506 Checkers, Local 507 Grainliners, Local 509 Coastwise and Local 510 First Aid) amalgamated.
The Labour Code, the collective agreements and the Constitution are the legal basis of Local 500 but we are much more than this. We are proud of our roots going back to 1937 in the founding of the ILWU as a Rank-and-File Union with decision making from the bottom up. We are very proud of our Wobbly roots.
The Wobblies were the early radical members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a union founded in 1905. The ILWU motto, “An injury to one is an injury to all” comes from the Wobblies. The labor anthem “Solidarity Forever” comes from the IWW’s Little Red Song Book.
Local 500 is our history and it is our people. We honour our veterans every year at the Local 500 Pensioners Picnic held on the 3rd Thursday of July at New Brighton Park. We also honour the Longshore workers that went before us with the Pensioners Banquet, which is held on the 2nd Thursday of October at the Maritime Labour Centre (MLC).
In summary we are all about our “Declaration of Principles”. Every person that becomes a Member of Local 500 must do the Membership Pledge at the General Membership Meeting in front of his/her Brothers and Sisters. The Membership Pledge states:
“I, ___(name)___, do solemnly promise – to be a true and faithful member
of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union – and neither by
word nor deed knowingly bring discredit upon it or its members – I shall
observe its Constitution, its Bylaws and Work Rules, – adopt its
Declaration of Principles, – and actively promote the Welfare of the Union,
the Local, and its members.”
Our Declaration of Principles is all about:
- Equality amongst men and women striving to promote universal solidarity everywhere.
- Recognition of the dignity of people.
- A fair and just return for their labour.
- Participation in political and social affairs.
- Unity within the entire labour movement.
- Knowledge and understanding of our Union’s history.
- We shall formulate policy through the democratic machinery of the Local and assure that no clique or group shall dominate or control this Local.
- All rights and duties, always, must belong without discrimination to each member.
We strive to live by the words of JS Woodsworth, “What we desire for ourselves, we wish for all.” This is the slogan of the BC Federation of Labour. Our Declaration of Principles is all about trying to improve the lives of everyone in our community through positive outreach.