BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. labour leader Jim Sinclair announces he won't run for re-election

10/09/2014 04:33 EDT | Updated 12/09/2014 05:59 EST
VANCOUVER - Fifteen years as leader of the B.C. Federation of Labour is enough for Jim Sinclair, who will not be seeking re-election of the organization that speaks for 500,000 union members.

Sinclair said Wednesday 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," he said.

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."

The B.C. Federation of Labour recently held rallies in support of striking teachers and launched a series of radio ads supporting them.

The union will hold its 56th annual convention in November. (The Canadian Press, CHNL)