|Where have you gone, Garry Robinson?
If you have not seen Garry Robinson in Esquimalt in the last little while, the chances are very good that he has retired and is busily biking his way across Canada, all the while camping with his friends and visiting with fellow Unionists. For many a year now, he has had 3 April 2008 notched on the calendar as his date to pack it in.
Garry was born in 1953 in Angus, Ontario, a small town on the Nottawasaga River, about 18 kilometres west of Barrie – right outside the gates of Canadian Forces Base Borden. He grew up loving motorcycling and hitchhiking.
In 1973 he headed out west to British Columbia where he got a job at the Canadian Forces Ammunition Depot at Rocky Point, southwest of Esquimalt. He must have liked the place because he spent his entire career there.
Garry attended his first Union meeting in November 1973. The following year, he became a Shop Steward for UNDE Local 1011. Within ten years, he took over the roles of Local President and Alternate Regional Vice-President. Garry became the Vice-President British Columbia after the unfortunate death of the incumbent, Bill Hitchen, from bone cancer in 1987. He has held the position ever since, running uncontested in every election.
Garry has been involved in every Public Service strike that took place: starting with the General Labour and Trades (GL&T) strike in 1975. He felt they managed to get a half decent contract for the very first time. Each strike has been a highlight in his career; British Columbia always shows good solidarity and support for strikes. The 1980 Clerical Group (CR) strike was especially memorable. Like many others, he was surprised that they actually walked out. It turned out to be Union solidarity at its best.
|The History of the Union of National Defence Employees|
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