breif history of branch 300
At the beginning of the last century British Columbia was the home of some of the strongest trade union movements in the country. This was due in part to the Western migrations of Union activists. Because of their Union activities these men had been blacklisted and driven west, going from job to job and town to town by the private police and armed guards of the industrial tycoons who owned and controlled the various operations. Another contributing factor to the strong union spirit in BC was the nature of its resources and the industries that they gave rise to, including logging, fishing, and mining. These industries tended to group people together in communities. They shared a common culture, often a common employer and had a common interest in improving their lot in life. The glaring inequities between capital and labour were on display daily. In a sense they were already organized.
It was by no accident of history that the first brewery workers local in Canada was formed in British Columbia. Rossland, in the southeast of the province was the location of this first local. Several small breweries were in operation in this area serving a multitude of hard rock and coal miners. Many small locals came into being and disappeared in this area during the course of just a few years, depending on the fortunes of the breweries and the communities they served.
In Fernie in 1902, Local 308 was chartered. The story here goes that the local miners wanted to drink a union made product and the company, seeing a marketing opportunity encouraged the workers to organize. Whether or not this was the case, Local 308 remains the second longest continually running local in the country.
The history of the union in Vancouver goes back to 1908 when Local 152 was chartered. It only lasted two years and was disbanded in 1910. In 1913, Local 281 was chartered and it disbanded in August of 1923. On October 28, 1925, Local 300 was chartered. In New Westminster in 1913, Local 286 was chartered and it was disbanded in 1923. Sometime after 1925, New Westminster became part of Local 300. In Victoria, Local 282 was chartered in 1901, just two months after the first charter in Rossland. Local 282 was disbanded in 1903. Local 280 was chartered in 1912 and functioned into the 1980’s when because of a plant closure it merged with Local 300.
In 2016 Local 300 merged with the Service Employees International Union Local 2, with over 15,000 members in Canada, and became Branch 300 of SEIU Local 2.
Branch 300 proudly represents: brewery, winery, mixed and soft drink workers, private liquor store workers, metal fabricators, truck drivers and warehouse workers throughout the province of British Columbia.