The year was 1948. Ken Fraser left his unionized job at a Kapuskasing pulp and paper company and joined the Civil Service at Regina – DND (REME) as a Classified Instrument Maker. He was immediately recruited by the seventeen member “Association of Civilian Employees – Military District # 12.” It was independent and not affiliated with any other labour organization. Dues were 25 cents a month.
Fraser rose to become Association Secretary-Treasurer. The very next day, he was summoned to the personnel department. The Civilian Personnel Officer (CPO) accused him of “associating with communists.” That angered Fraser because many members were World War II veterans. He advised the CPO to fire him, otherwise he was going to spend his time getting even. Strangely, he was not fired.
Fraser then helped in organizing the rest of the base. Of note, he discovered James K Wyllie working in Base Stores and launched him upon a brilliant political career in the union.
One day the Regina association received a recruiting visit from both the Civil Service Federation of Canada (CSF) and also its bitter rival the Amalgamated Civil Servants of Canada. A resulting vote went to the CSF.
Fraser went on to become Branch President and fought dedicatedly for better wages for prevailing rate members. He also raided Amalgamated strongholds in Moose Jaw, Dundurn and Saskatoon. In 1953, he and the branch became founding members of the National Defence Employees Association.
|The History of the Union of National Defence Employees|
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