Aaron Ekman

Former Nelsonite joins BC Fed executive

Aaron Ekman is the new secretary-treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour.

A former Nelson man is the new secretary-treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour. Aaron Ekman, 36, was elected at the organization’s bi-annual convention last week, which also saw Irene Lanzinger elected president. Ekman replaces Lanzinger, who served two terms as secretary-treasurer.

“It’s an exciting time to be involved,” he said in an interview Monday while apartment hunting in Vancouver. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Ekman moved to Nelson in 1991, graduated from L.V. Rogers in 1996, and attended Selkirk College in Castlegar. His parents still live in Rosemont.

He was president of the UBC Okanagan Students Society and chaired the young workers’ committee of the Vancouver and District Labour Council. While working in commercial roofing, he joined Sheet Metal Workers Local 280 and became a director of the BC Federation of Labour in 2004.

He began working for the BC Government Employees Union in 2008, and moved to Prince George the following year as a staff rep. His most recent position was as regional co-ordinator, responsible for four area offices. He was also founding president of the North Central Labour Council, which represents over 12,000 union members across northern BC.

Ekman ran for secretary-treasurer on a ticket with Amber Hockin, Pacific director of the Canadian Labour Congress, who sought the presidency, but lost to Lanzinger by 57 votes. However, Ekman said he’ll have no trouble working with Lanzinger.

“We have a strong working relationship,” he said. “We have worked together in the past. In labour, when we debate things on the convention floor, it’s the finer points. I’ve met with Irene since the convention and had some discussion about the best way to move forward.

“The position Amber and I took is that we need to find new ways to extend unions to a new generation of workers having difficulty getting in. Irene’s platform was to ensure the federation remains a platform for all workers, union or not.”

Lanzinger indicated raising BC’s minimum wage to $15 per hour is one of her top goals, something Ekman says he is eager to get started on.

Ekman also said he is “excited to have conversations with all members of the labour sector to find out what they need. There are new ways to structure unions around sectors that are quite different from those of our parents and grandparents.”

While his new job is an elected position, Ekman said it’s more internal than Lanzinger’s, and includes charing the finance committee and preparing budgets.

He was in Nelson the week before the BC Fed convention and says he watched the recent municipal election with interest — he went to school with the children of mayoral candidates Pat Severyn and John Dooley.

Ekman’s election means the BC Fed’s executive will maintain the same number of former Kootenaians: outgoing president Jim Sinclair was a reporter at the Nelson Daily News in the early 1980s. Sinclair, who was president for 15 years, did not stand for re-election.

Just Posted

RDCK moves ahead with Castlegar rec complex upgrade plan

Board approves grant application for $13 million from provincial, federal governments

Cottonwood Lake preservation group surpasses $50,000 fundraising goal

In 28 days, 393 donors have contributed to the fund

Last of southern Selkirk caribou relocated to Revelstoke area

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

Scammers using Castlegar home for rental fraud

Local realtors say the problem is happening more frequently with their properties

West Kootenay radio club says local network in need of upgrades

Club president Lane Wilson estimated $100,000 of work required

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

Explosion sends B.C. firefighter to hospital

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Crowsnest Pass RCMP seek help locating missing man

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

RECALL: Salmon Village maple salmon nuggets

Customers warned not to eat product due to possible Listeria contamination

Most Read