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BWA remembered at union headquarters

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Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, left, Glenn Fubler, of Imagine Bermuda, former MP Patricia Gordon-Pamplin and Dennis Lister, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, during a press conference at the BIU headquarters (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

An activist has urged others to be determined when fighting for what they believe in.

Glenn Fubler, of Imagine Bermuda, said he believed that the founders of the Bermuda Workers Association had this determination when they established the organisation in 1944.

He explained: “The universe wants to move right, so even if you are not getting the whole thing, you’ve got to be prepared to take a couple of slices of the loaf.

“Once you have a couple of slices, that is how momentum is built.”

Attendees including Chris Furbert, the president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, and past and present politicians joined Mr Fubler yesterday at the BIU headquarters to celebrate 80 years since the BWA’s founding.

The BWA was formed days after the Naval Operating Base Workers Association was established.

Gerald Brangman was elected its first president, Austin Wilson as vice-president and William Davis as treasurer.

Mr Fubler said: “It was much more than a labour union … when it began, it was the coming together of the community to address all sorts of issues that helped to transform this country in a very dark time globally.”

The BWA led to the BIU being formed in 1946 and formally established in 1947.

Mr Furbert explained: “[The BIU] represents the rights of workers young, old and in between, and we have to also respect that each member has a right to vote and has a say.

“We cannot say that just because you are young, you cannot speak”.

National Hero E.F. Gordon led the BIU until his death in 1955.

Dr Gordon’s daughter, former MP and minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, emphasised the importance of continuing the legacy of her father and other pioneers “because we are the beneficiaries of better working conditions that they fought for”.

She added: “It’s so important to me to be here today to say ‘thank you’ to all those who are continuing to carry on that legacy and to know that the efforts that we’ve put into making this country a better place will not go unrecognised.”

Mr Wilson’s daughter Madree Lindsay, 81, said her father “liked fairness for all, liked justice and was also a peacemaker”.

Ms Lindsay added that she was “thankful for all the people that worked along with him as a team”.

A gathering to highlight the founding of the Bermuda Workers Association (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Dennis Lister, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, told the gathering: “We are standing on the shoulders of hard work, blood, sweat and tears of many people who came before us and paved the way for us to be here today.

“Our role is to make sure that those coming behind us can appreciate that they need to stand on shoulders to go forward, and appreciate the work that has been done before we came.”

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Published June 21, 2024 at 7:56 am (Updated June 21, 2024 at 7:56 am)

BWA remembered at union headquarters

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