Art Kube RIP A Workers Advocate

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kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture
Art Kube RIP A Workers Advocate

A trade unionist and activist all his life and a long time friend of my parents when I was growing up. He came out of the Steelworkers.

The BC labour movement has lost one of our leaders. Art Kube died early in the morning, February 10, 2019 at the age of 84. He had been in declining health for several years. Born in Poland on January 9, 1935, Art came to Canada as a 19-year old andworked in a number of trades around the country. He became active in the labour movement in the 1960s. After two decades he advanced to the position of President, BC Federation of Labour. He held that position from 1983 to 1986, which was a tumultuous periodin BC’s labour history under the Socred provincial government. Operation Solidarity and the Solidarity Coalition were the centre of Art’s work during that period.

http://www.labourheritagecentre.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/...

NorthReport

Art was indeed a good man and thanks for the thread krop

https://mickleblog.wordpress.com/tag/art-kube/

lagatta4

Thank you. Alas knowledge of labour history remains quite regional; unfortunately I've never heard of him.

Rest in power, brother.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

NorthReport wrote:

Art was indeed a good man.

https://mickleblog.wordpress.com/tag/art-kube/

This is a NR link that should be read. Very insightful piece about a pivotal moment in BC's history and Art's role in it. He was an educator and a very humble person who was always postive in coalition meetings.

The update on this slightly dated piece is that the BC Liberals spent 15 years implementing the neo-con agenda. "Union Jack" Munroe went on to be chairman of the B.C. Forest Alliance a powerful industry lobby group. The BCGEU has continued to dominate both the BC Fed and the BC NDP, to the detriment of both.

Unionist

Sorry for our collective loss, but so grateful for reviving the powerful memories of Operation Solidarity etc. - had a big influence on a youngish trade unionist's imagination at the time! Thanks krop.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i'm still angry at the bc fed for pulling the rug out from under operation solidarity. it was one of those moments in time where we could have brought down a destructive government. it was one of those moments where a large portion of the population came together to resist. these moments don't happen often. 

..i can lay that anger aside though to acknowledge the passing of kube.

NorthReport
kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Unionist wrote:

Sorry for our collective loss, but so grateful for reviving the powerful memories of Operation Solidarity etc. - had a big influence on a youngish trade unionist's imagination at the time! Thanks krop.

I lived it as a Regional Rep to both the Solidarity Coalition and the BC Human Rights Coalition. It was my first movement organizing experience. It framed my view of various union leaders for a long time. Art was the real deal.

WWWTT

Thanks for the thread kropotkin1951!

I’m sure Art Kube would be happy to know that his life contributions was being remembered and shared to learn from. 

And thanks to North Report for the informative link. 

NorthReport

dp

NorthReport

Even in his senior years Art was still very active being leader of COSCO a B.C. senior’s organization dedicated to improving the lives of seniors until he physically had to stop 

NorthReport

lagatta4

I think your post exemplifies Art as he never was one who wanted the spotlight shining on himself

At least that is the Art Kube I came to know in the latter stages of his life.

lagatta4 wrote:

Thank you. Alas knowledge of labour history remains quite regional; unfortunately I've never heard of him.

Rest in power, brother.

NorthReport

dp

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epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..jim kinnaird was a communist and presided over the bc fed from 1978 until 1983. he was the last so called communist to play a leadership role at the fed.

..this fits with some of the rcmp reports. and it fits with my memories of the purge like events that took place. these purges were not limited to "communists" as they included most militants that did not fall in line with the ndp/labour leadership.

..this third way ideology was also not limited to bc and today we see the results in a passive labour movement that doesn't respond effectively to the brutal attacks from conservatives in man, sask and ont.

..from this piece:

quote:

Critics say there are many reasons the RCMP needn’t have worried about Communist influence at all. Firstly, “they had no real world power,” said Mickleburgh. “How could they when they only got 200 votes or so in elections? Most were political nobodies.” Secondly, Whitaker said that some Communist Party leaders successfully improved workers conditions and benefits, a result that was more likely to lower the revolutionary urges of workers than to heighten them. Thirdly, the Mounties couldn’t or wouldn’t see that the Communist-union political influence was more likely to work in reverse. “The Communists were no real power in Solidarity, really the opposite,” said Kube, chuckling merrily. “In these situations I would use them.”

“Everyone knew who the Communists were, they put the views out there openly, so there was nothing subversive about them,” said Mickleburgh.

quote:

Nonetheless, union leaders abhorred extremists in their higher ranks, and at times cleaned house. The RCMP wrote in November 1983 that the BCGEU was “void of subversives at the senior decision making level, following a carefully planned, in-house purge by General Secretary John Fryer.” They added that the BCGEU had been trying to purge itself of aggressive radicals since 1980, and B.C. Communists had tried to start a general strike as early as 1981.

In another memo, an informant reported on a meeting of the Solidarity Coalition on Sept. 15, 1984: “Kuehn and [Jean] Swanson dealt a crushing blow to the influence of [Communist] Party members in running the Coalition.” With Kuehn in the chair, “the whole meeting was carefully controlled by him and he used some sneaky maneuvers throughout… It is interesting to note the Party’s reaction to a taste of their own medicine. However, source feels that Kuehn will continue to use the Party and its members when he feels it is to his advantage.” (Kuehn said he can’t recall the meeting.)