Stage production explores the struggles of the Canadian Seamen’s Union
30 years ago, Jim Green, former Vancouver city councillor, longshoreman, steel cutter, shop steward, taxi driver, academic, community organizer, and university lecturer, wrote Against the Tide: The Story of the Canadian Seamen’s Union.
It’s the story of a cross-Canada union that fought some hard battles during the middle of the 20th century. There was the red-baiting, as well as the deplorable role the federal Liberal government played in using the mob-dominated Seafarers’ International Union to intimidate the workers. But through all this, the Canadian Seamen’s Union continued the fight and even took their struggle across shores, making it the first international strike in Canadian history.
And it’s a history told through the perspective of the workers themselves.
Some might say the drama of that struggle would make it perfect for the stage. That’s exactly what author and comedian Charles Demers did. He wrote a staged adaptation of it, which was performed on Feb. 26 in Vancouver. Rankandfile.ca’s Daniel Tseghay spoke with Demers about the performance and the union that inspired it.